San Diego City Council president Sherri Lightner. Photo by Chris Stone
San Diego City Council president Sherri Lightner. Photo by Chris Stone

The San Diego City Council on Wednesday called a special meeting for next week to tackle the prolonged and controversial issue of regulating short-term rental properties.

“Short-term vacation rentals have become a concern for many of our residents, especially in single-family residential neighborhoods,” said council President Sherri Lightner.

The meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday will be held in Golden Hall — adjacent to the City Administration Building — to accommodate an expected large crowd.

“We are recommending minor edits to the municipal code to better clarify the description of `visitor accommodation’ in order to make it easier for the city’s code enforcement to enforce the areas where visitor accommodations, including short term vacation rentals, are allowed, and those areas in single dwelling zones where visitor accommodations are not allowed,” Lightner said.

At a news conference, opponents said the proposal would ban such properties in single-family neighborhoods across San Diego. A coalition of political and civic leaders, including Councilmen Chris Cate and Scott Sherman, plus representatives of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and San Diego Taxpayers Association, called for a more balanced approach.

“Council President Lightner has refused to docket my proposal for consideration, placing her own ban on the docket without the benefit of community input,” Cate said.

Lightner said the recommendations are based on input from numerous previous meetings and would not regulate home-sharing, or owner-occupied rentals where the owner lives on-site and rents out rooms in his or her home.

“We believe this recommendation strikes a reasonable, measured balance between continuing to allow short-term vacation rentals in zones that are designed to accommodate visitors, while protecting the sanctity of single- family neighborhoods, which are not designed to accommodate short-term vacation rentals, but are intended for long-term residents,” Lightner said.

A City Council committee meeting on the heated topic last year went over parts of two days and resulted in members asking Mayor Kevin Faulconer to budget more money for enforcement of noise, overcrowding and refuse regulations.

— City News Service