By Frank Gormlie / The OBRag
It is a truth that is staggering. And it is not hyperbole.
The future of Ocean Beach very likely will be decided this coming Monday, July 16, when the San Diego City Council votes on regulating short-term vacation rentals.
This will be their 4th major hearing on these type of rentals, often called mini-hotels – having failed over 3 years to set policy. Up for discussion is Mayor Faulconer’s proposed “compromise” and all he and the short-term platform companies like Airbnb need is 5 votes.
If Faulconer’s plan passes in total or in substance – the future of this community has been decided – for if that happens, anybody can come in and with the right amount of cash or credit snap up a house or apartment complex and turn around and set up shop selling short-term rentals. They do not have to be a resident of Ocean Beach or of San Diego.
You can be guaranteed that’s there a thousand investors out there, somewhere in the world, who would love to come in and grab up a dwelling unit and list it on Airbnb or other industry sites. There are only 7,000 available rental units in the first place. And according to OB experts, roughly 500 are already short-term rentals. Take out another 1,000 – or more – and there goes the neighborhood.
There goes the community – the community you, dear reader, may know and live in.
If the Mayor’s plan passes – kiss Mission Beach good-bye as well. It’s already half short-term rentals anyway, so what’s another half for the Mayor’s “Mission Beach Carve-Out”.
If the Mayor’s plan passes, OB renters and tenants will be hard-pressed – and increasingly so as time gathers – to maintain residency in the village by the sea. Without the residents who rent, OB is gone.
The renters will be replaced with vacationers who could care less about being on the town council, or the planning committee, or volunteer for the PTA or Kiwanis, or be involved in community clean-ups.
OB will become a high-priced mishmash of private security details, with traffic jams of Ubers, Lyfts, taxis and dockless bikes and scooters, with property management companies at the helm, as more and more dwelling units – we call them “homes” – succumb to being turned into mini-lodges and block after block become ghost villages.
So, if you live in OB – or Point Loma, or on the San Diego coast – and are against short-term rentals, you must attend the City Council hearing this Monday, July 16. It’s a long affair and it will be a ‘war of the shirts’ – so wear BLUE.
And very fortunately if you live in OB, your local town council has chartered a bus, that leaves the Rec Center at 11am and returns at 6pm. Sign up here. The OB Town Council should have so many reservations for their bus, that they have to find two more.
It is no exaggeration to say the decisions that come down on Monday will affect thousands of current OB residents. We must be there to save OB.
City Hall: 202 C St, San Diego, CA 92101; usually the City Council meets on the 12th floor, but there will be a spill-over crowd so often they hold these types of hearing in Golden Hill next door. Remember, if you miss the bus, the trolley stops right in front of City Hall.