By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag
After 5 plus hours of public testimony, a bi-partisan majority of the San Diego City Council today, Monday, July 16, halted Mayor Faulconer’s proposal on short-term vacation rentals and approved by a vote of 6 to 3 Councilwoman Barbara Bry’s proposal to limit the rentals to “primary residence” and onsite granny flat.
In the end, 4 Democrats (Bry, Myrtle Cole, Georgette Gomez, Chris Ward ) and 2 Republicans (Lorie Zapf and Mark Kersey) voted for the so-called “Bry Proposal”. In essence, the Bry plan limits short-term rentals to the primary residence – and if there’s an accessory unit, a so-called “granny flat” – the host is allowed to rent that out as well, as that still meets the requirement for the host to be on the property during the visit.
Faulconer’s proposal went down on a 3 to 6 vote, with only Cate, Sherman and Kersey voting for it.
This historic vote has, in effect, saved San Diego’s coastal communities – including Ocean Beach – from a flood of short-term rentals that would have materialized if the Mayor’s plan had been passed, a flood that would have destroyed the character and uniqueness of the community.
Critics of Faulconer’s “primary plus one” plan, plus his Mission Beach “carve-out”, have accurately portrayed it as open invitation to investors anywhere – they wouldn’t have had to reside in San Diego – to come in and grab up San Diego houses, condos and apartments and turn them into short-term rentals.
Over a short period of time, that scenario – if Faulconer’s plan had passed – would have played out across the beach and coastal neighborhoods to their extreme detriment. And neighborhoods like OB would lose their long-term rental and housing stock, open up more residential blocks to mini-hotels, and become “ghost villages” during the week and during off months.
If this had occurred, it is very likely Ocean Beach, as the community we know it today, would have been literally destroyed.
Faulconer’s “Mission Beach carve-out” was such a bad idea that the Mayor appeared in front of the Council at the beginning of their hearing today, and while introducing his plan, simply stated he was amending his ordinance by removing that exception for Mission Beach.
Dozens of OBceans turned out for the long, drawn-out afternoon affair in the Council Chambers on the 12th floor of City Hall. About twenty from OB grabbed the chartered bus provided by the OB Town Council. A good number of OB people spoke against Faulconer’s proposal as did many from other neighborhoods like Mission Beach, PB, La Jolla, Clairemont – even University City.
The Airbnb-fueled opposition was also out in numbers as well; they supported Faulconer’s plan. They wore green shirts; OBceans wore blue while other opponents of short-term rentals wore red. It was the war of the shirts – green vs red and blue vs green – ….
We’ll have more details later.