There are a total of sixteen board members on the town council. In 2018, the town council board supported the primary only STR limits passed by the San Diego City Council, because at the time the alternative was the carve out proposed by Mayor Faulconer and Elyse Lowe. The carve out would have allowed an unlimited number of short term rentals in Mission Beach.
Elyse Lowe was at the time director of Land Use and Planning Development Group within Developmental Services. She put together the short term rental regulations for San Diego. I met with her on two occasions, but also communicated with her multiple times to provide her with inputs on the proposed STR regulations assembled by the MBTC STR committee in 2017-18. Ms. Lowe certainly gave the impression that she liked the guidelines our committee put together (I was not a member of the committee), that included requirements for permits, limits, and a unique enforcement approach.
But in the end, she proposed the worst possible combination of the three, permits, limits and enforcement, in a carve out for Mission Beach. The mayor literally used the words "carve out." This was in spite of a vast majority of Mission Beach residents expressing strong support for Mission Beach to be included in whatever plan was adopted for the City.
The proposal put together by Ms. Lowe and adopted by the mayor was puzzling at first. But, the reasons became obvious after reviewing data and talking with neighbors of Ms. Lowe's parents who live on San Luis Rey in South Mission Beach. The City follows a, and I am not sure of the correct term, zero budgeting approach; that is, the money produced by permits must pay for the enforcement, no more and no less. Ms. Lowe and the budgeting people in the City estimated the total number of permits that might be obtained for short term rentals at about 4,000. They then determined the cost for providing enforcement, and I assume cost of permitting, then divided the cost by the number of estimated permits to quantify the permit cost at about $950.
A quick look at data from Host Compliance and other sources (list of TOT addresses from a public record request) yielded some key information. While Mission Beach had only thirteen percent of the STRs listed by Host Compliance, they represented about one-third of the TOT payments, thus it was crucial that the City encourage as many permits from Mission Beach as possible. This also explained why the permits were made so weak, again to encourage as many as possible across the City to sign up and pay the $950.
Lastly, if we want to have any chance at all of slowing down the short term rental onslaught, it will require us to flip the Mission Beach Town Council back to residents first board members. To do that, these are the current board members, who have demonstrated that they strongly support the short term rental industry, who must be voted out.
The sad part of this group is that there are three, maybe even four board members, who are associated with Blaine Smith, owner of 710 Beach Rentals. While Dane McCleary claims he is an independent business, the website clearly shows that he is an employee of 710. Amy, while a nice person, is also an employee of 710, so guess how she votes. Scott Gressard played soccer with Blaine at USD, yes, USD, which has caused so many problems in Mission Beach.