‘You cannot manage anything you cannot measure’: OB, La Jolla planners support short-term rental data system
Hoping to find quantitative data that can measure the impact of short-term rentals under the city of San Diego’s new ordinance, the La Jolla Community Planning Association and the Ocean Beach Planning Board are working on a set of metrics to submit to the city.
The idea came from the San Diego Community Planners Committee, which has representation from all the city’s planning groups. The metrics were to be taken back to the groups for feedback before a final list is voted on.
The new STR ordinance was signed into law in April and is to be reviewed annually for effectiveness.
“We already know STRs impact our quality of life,” said Ocean Beach Planning Board Chairwoman Andrea Schlageter. “So we want to make sure the ordinance is putting some dent in that.”
She said the group wanted to “hold the city accountable for any negative impacts we are feeling from STRs” and presented a draft list during LJCPA’s May 6 meeting.
Proposed metrics that can be tracked include:
• The stock of naturally occurring affordable housing, which Schlageter said is subject to being bought up and turned into year-round vacation rentals
• Public school enrollment
• Rents for commercial and residential tenants
• Nuisance complaints to police and code enforcement
• Transient occupancy taxes collected from short-term rental properties
• Trash pickup frequencies
• Equitable distribution of STRs across San Diego, since there was not a cap on the number of rentals by City Council district
“By creating this metric, we can start tracking these things and determine the impact and get remedies,” said LJCPA President Diane Kane. “Every other city is tracking these things, and we need data to see if stuff works. We tend to come up with programs and let them run on autopilot and then don’t assess them. Hopefully this will give us an opportunity to catch up with the rest of the county in terms of a feedback loop.”
Noting that much of the concern with STRs is anecdotal, LJCPA trustee Patrick Ahern called the metrics “a good start” in providing actual data that could lead to changes if needed.
Trustee Brian Will said he was “very much in favor” of what has been presented.
“Many of us have a villainous opinion of STRs, and perhaps this is baked into the cake, but some statistics on the repeat offenders — not who they are but how many of the nuisance calls are repeat nuisance calls to the same property rather than the ones that organically occur — may enlighten us to the fact that STRs in general are not so bad, but there are bad actors among them,” Will said.
Citing a quote of management consultant Peter Drucker, trustee Ray Weiss said, “You cannot manage anything you cannot measure, and that is what we are talking about.”
Though the LJCPA board did not vote on the metrics, it lent its support to the draft presented.
The city’s STR ordinance was brokered by City Councilwoman Jennifer Campbell, whose District 2 includes Ocean Beach and Point Loma. It was approved by the council in February.
The ordinance groups short-term vacation rentals into a four-tier licensing system:
Tier 1: Home-share or whole-home short-term residential occupancy for an aggregate total of 20 days or less per calendar year
Tier 2: Home-share short-term residential occupancy for more than 20 days per calendar year
Tier 3: Whole-home short-term residential occupancy for more than 20 days per calendar year
Tier 4: Special tier for Mission Beach, which allows whole-home short-term rentals in a manner consistent with recommendations from the Mission Beach Town Council
Whole-home rentals will be capped at 1 percent of the city’s more than 540,000 housing units, or about 5,400. However, in Mission Beach, which has a long history of vacation rentals that predates the rise of online home-sharing platforms, the allocation would be much more generous, limited to 30 percent of the community’s total dwelling units, or about 1,100. ◆