SD Council stand firm on Airbnb regs

Tough new regulations that will sharply curtail short-term vacation rentals in San Diego will move forward, the City Council decided Wednesday, despite legal protests lodged this week by the home sharing industry.

Two weeks after approving the new rules, which will limit short-term stays to one’s primary residence only, the council reaffirmed its decision in a second reading of an ordinance that will now legalize home sharing. The vote was 6-2, with Councilmen David Alvarez and Scott Sherman opposed. Councilman Chris Cate was absent.

The action came following a five-hour hearing during which vacation rental hosts appealed to the council to reconsider its action while critics of unregulated rentals urged elected leaders to stand firm and protect residential neighborhoods.

“This respects the original spirit of the sharing economy. It is a true compromise and it preserves our precious housing stock,” Councilwoman Barbara Bry said of the new regulations. “This is only the first chapter. It will be up to us to craft an enforcement mechanism that will go into effect next year. We will need all your cooperation and help in making sure this works.”

Still obstacles loom. The regulations, which are to go into effect next July, will still have to pass muster with the California Coastal Commission, which generally favors vacation rentals as an affordable alternative to hotel stays on the coast. And even if the new rules are upheld, Councilman Alvarez predicted they will be unenforceable.

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