La Jolla Town Council reacts to Mayor’s short-term vacation rental proposal: Coalition of town councils to testify before City vote, July 16

During La Jolla Town Council’s (LJTC) June 14 meeting, president Ann Kerr Bache reacted to Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s proposed short-term vacation rental (STVR) regulations. Leaked to the media earlier that day, the proposal is a compromise that, reportedly:

• allows homeowners to rent their primary residences for up to six months a year and a second home year-round;
• allows home-sharing only if the homeowner remains on site;
• limits coastal-zone rentals to a three-night minimum stay;
• prohibits owners of granny flats from renting them for fewer than 30 days;
• requires $949 annual licenses for those renting entire homes to guests for fewer than 30 days;
• charges STVR owners hotel tax and a nightly $2.76 affordable housing impact fee; and
• waives operating permits for homeowners with five or fewer bedrooms.

“Fundamentally, the issue is primary residences — particularly since ‘residence’ is defined as an owner paying taxes, but also a renter,” Kerr Bache told the Rec Center audience of 20. “So you can then proliferate these investor-owned things if you’re really clever. And not only that, but if you have four or five people living in a home, they can count their primary residence plus one additional. So one particular dwelling could be responsible for four or five STVRs.

“That gets a little bit sneaky,” Kerr Bache said, “and how do you enforce it?”

Kerr Bache said the San Diego Coalition of Town Councils’ working group on short-term vacation rentals would testify before the City Council just before it is scheduled to decide this issue on July 16.

“We really recognize that probably not all of our desires will be taken into account, but we’re hopeful we can turn it around on residents-only,” she said.

Kerr Bache also broke the news that one town council, Mission Beach, had unexpectedly given up the fight.

“They have changed their position from primary residence to primary residence plus one, because they’re trying to keep their current 45 percent STVR at that number and not turn the hotel Mission Beach into a hotel,” Kerr Bache said. “That was a big surprise to me.”Kerr Bache added: “I’m sure there’s horse-trading that’s going on, that’s politics. But we’re going to keep up our view and we’ll just see what happens.”

City Council member Barbara Bry also spoke briefly at the meeting about the mayor’s proposal, indicating that she opposes it and will stick to the STVR compromise she introduced last December 12 — one of multiple proposals that failed to secure five affirmative votes at the dais.

Earlier in the day, Council member Lori Zapf — whose district includes Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Mission Beach and Point Loma — issued a statement saying that the mayor’s proposal “does not go far enough to give my support.”

Also at LJTC

Dynes racks brain: Parks & Beaches advisory group chair Ann Dynes introduced a design proposal for new La Jolla fixed bike racks to be located near the Children’s Pool.

“One of the beauties of this project is that the new bike rack is inside the budget of the Children’s Pool, so I’m not coming to you for your approval on that,” said Dynes, who distributed copies of the design to trustees. “I’m just saying that if we had a shared vision for a bike rack, then La Jolla Parks & Beaches would be open to the question of what would you rather have us put out there at the Children’s Pool, if not this?”

The Town Council responded by passing a motion “supporting the concepts and the efforts, and agreeing with the design that Parks & Beaches decides upon.”

Air traffic report: Airport Noise Task Force co-chairs Chris McCann and Tony Stiegler updated Town Council on their subcommittee’s progress. McCann said they are “working directly with the consultants hired by the Airport Authority” to solve several major problems, including the fact that La Jolla is directly under the arrival path for airplanes flying south along the coast, that northbound departures rerouted around Point Loma are turning close to the shore and pointing the back end of their engines at South La Jolla, and that some late-night planes are being rerouted directly over La Jolla instead of south of it.

“So, if at 10:30 at night, you hear a very loud airplane over your house at very low altitude, that is a guy headed to DC or New York on a red-eye, who the air-traffic controllers, for reasons quite unknown to us, are sending right over La Jolla,” McCann said.

Oath of office: Bry swore in Town Council’s 2018-2019 officers, including Kerr Bache, first vice president Cindy McGowan, second vice president Joe Pitrofsky and treasurer Elizabeth King. (Secretary Gail Forbes was not in attendance.)

Street closures: For the San Diego Challenged Athletes Triathlon, Sunday, Oct. 21, the board approved temporary street closures on Coast Boulevard between Prospect Street and Girard Avenue, and lane closures on Torrey Pines Road between Prospect Street and La Jolla Shores Drive.

-- Town Council next meets 5:30 p.m. Thu., July 12, at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.; lajollatowncouncil.org

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