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Vacation rental opponents hold up signs during a City Council meeting. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

The city of San Diego paid $75,000 for a study analyzing the link between short-term vacation rentals and housing costs — but the study ignored claims from those who argue vacation rentals remove homes from the housing stock and lead to price increases.

Yet the study will be used to justify a $2.73 nightly afford affordable housing impact fee that Mayor Kevin Faulconer has proposed as part of a package of policies to regulate short-term vacation rentals in the city. The proposed fee is expected to address affordable housing needs tied to vacation rentals.

That means the study establishes that there is a connection between short-term vacation rentals and housing costs — a legal requirement in order to levy a fee — without determining how many homes have been removed from the market due to vacation rentals.

Instead, the study concluded that low-wage jobs tied to those vacation rentals add to the need for more affordable housing in the city.

Background: For three years, the city has wearied over how to regulate short-term vacation rentals and folks on both sides of the issue have argued about how those vacation rentals are affecting San Diego’s already tight housing market.

After a City Council compromise crumbled in December, Faulconer pledged to take the lead. He also sought the affordable housing nexus study to appease City Councilman David Alvarez, whose last-minute reversal scuttled regulations that had appeared likely to pass. Alvarez had said he wouldn’t support new vacation rental regulations without an immediate affordable housing impact fee, and city officials had said a study was needed to link housing needs and vacation rentals before they could assess a new fee.

Coming up: The City Council is set to vote on the mayor’s regulatory proposal on July 16.

Panic Button on Hotel Tax Measure = Pushed

Supporters of the campaign to put a measure on the ballot to increase the hotel-room tax and fund an expansion of the Convention Center, homeless services and road repair appear to be in a state of panic.

Tuesday, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Partnership sent out what the partnership called a “Time-Sensitive Call To Action” asking its board members to circulate the petition and collect signatures.

“If each of our members collects 50 signatures, we can do more than our part to ensure the initiative is included on the ballot this November,” Betsy Brennan and Craig Benedetto of the Downtown Partnership write in an email to board members.

We’ve got all the details of the push to get the measure on the ballot and why they’re so intent on doing it with signatures.

Siren: New Fire Station Includes Sound Sculpture

A sound sculpture that looks like “a mix between vintage phonographs and metallic flowers sprouting from the sidewalk.”

An “open, airy contemporary” design.

Clearly, we must be talking about … a new fire station?

In the latest Culture Report, Kinsee Morlan describes some of the new features of Bayside Fire Station No. 2 near Little Italy, which includes a piece of public art through which you can hear original compositions, which include the sounds of water, fire and emergency calls.

In Other News

  • Yet another impact of the “zero tolerance” border policy on San Diego courts: The feds are kicking more and more drug cases over to the district attorney’s office. (Union-Tribune)
  • A settlement reached over who pays the $4.7 billion bill for the closure of the San Onofre nuclear plant is one step closer to being finalized. The Union-Tribune reports a California Public Utilities Commission judge recently signed off on a deal that will reduce customer costs by $775 million. If the full commission approves it, 6.4 million Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric customers will save $121 on average over four years.
  • San Ysidro school officials are working to recover hefty life insurance payments made to the former superintendent and deputy superintendent recently flagged as improper pay in a state audit. The retirement accounts holding the money are now frozen, and officials are exploring their options to recover other vacation and salary overpayments, reports inewsource.
  • City Hall staffing has undergone a major shakeup.

The Morning Report was written and compiled by Ashly McGlone and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.

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