RECREATION & TOURISM
Unlike other areas of San Diego, Mission Beach was developed as a recreational destination and colorful community from the beginning. Vacation rentals date back as far as 1916 when J.M. Asher began renting cabanas set up along the water's edge. For over a century Mission Beach has been a coastal destination for short term visitors.
STRs in Mission Beach have played a vital role in supporting the demand of visitors. Mission Beach deserves to be shared with present and future generations, and not limited to those able to afford owning property and living here full time. STRs provide affordable accommodations and an experience that hotel rooms cannot offer.
The Coastal Act mandates...
Section 30213: Lower cost visitor and recreational facilities shall be protected, encouraged, and where, feasible, provided. Developments providing public recreational opportunities are preferred.
Sections 30222: The use of private lands suitable for visitor serving commercial recreational facilities designed to enhance public opportunities for coastal recreation shall have priority over private residential, general industrial, or general commercial development, but not over agriculture or coastal-dependent industry.
The issue of the legality of vacation rentals has been debated for years with increasing urgency over the past four. Initially the debate was about single family RS-1 zones in coastal areas of San Diego, primarily La Jolla and Pacific Beach. As the debate picked up steam, other communities got involved and it became a city wide discussion. There were countless draft ordinances considered and many marathon meetings over the last few years. On July 16th the San Diego City Council approved a plan for vacation rentals in primary residences only and for no longer than 6 months a year. No second homes are allowed to rent short-term unless it's a duplex and one of the units is your primary home. Based on these rules we estimate more than 95% of existing vacation rentals would be illegal in Mission Beach. This is a de facto ban!
Over the last few years the discussion was focused less on Mission Beach since MB does not include RS-1 zoning and for decades most understood and accepted MB as a vacation friendly community. Even the Mayor’s ordinance, which was later modified, included a carve out for our peninsula made famous for vacations by generations of families. For this reason, vacation rental homeowners and businesses in the MB community were passive during the many discussions and meetings. Our passiveness lead to misrepresentation and now we find ourselves in a position where we must fight to save our community.
As the ink is barely dry there are a lot of unknowns. We have not had the time to assess all aspects of the plan, some of which were made on the fly late in the meeting. But we do know the plan allows vacation rentals in a host's primary residence only, and the Mission Beach carve out was removed per Council Member Lorie Zapf's suggestion.
We agree that STRs need updated regulations and enforcement, but this plan is an extreme over reaction that will destroy the industry and negatively impact many community stakeholders. This plan will continue to be discussed and we need to make sure we have an accurate voice for our unique community.