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Kevin Faulconer
Mayor Kevin Faulconer appears at the US Grant Hotel on the night of the June 2018 primary election. / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

City leaders were deadlocked for years over how to regulate vacation rentals.

As that fight dragged on, Mayor Kevin Faulconer largely ducked taking any action. After the last round of failure, though, he decided to propose his own policy framework. The vacation rental industry seemed happy with his ideas. Opponents of short-term rentals, not so much.

When the City Council met in July to discuss the regulations, it rejected a major piece of Faulconer’s plan. Instead, it voted to allow only residents who live in homes in San Diego to rent them out to visitors up to six months every year, effectively wiping out thousands of vacation rentals owned by investors and companies.

The vacation rental industry is not happy.

Faulconer joined Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis in a special episode of the VOSD Podcast and fielded questions about that and other big issues.

The mayor said he was fine with the City Council’s decision. His main concern, he said, was getting regulations in place and ensuring a system for enforcing those regulations.

When Lewis asked if the city was really going to shut down thousands of vacation rentals – some that have been operating for decades in neighborhoods like Mission Beach – Faulconer said, after a grace period, yes, that’s exactly what the city is going to do.

“That’s why it’s been such a contentious issue for a long time,” he said. “A lot of it will be complaint-driven, but look, it’s important that we have these regulations and we have the enforcement mechanism. And I’m looking forward to putting those in place.”

When the mayor came on the podcast in January, he said he wasted too much time seeking consensus. When it comes to housing the city’s homeless population, he said he’s willing to make decisions not everyone likes.

As community concern mounts in Clairemont over plans for a new apartment complex for homeless seniors, Faulconer said he’s willing to push the project forward.

“It is time for action and results,” he said. “Look, fear is a powerful human emotion, but at the same time we absolutely need to get people off the street and into housing. … Doing nothing is not an option.”

Also in the interview: Faulconer said he supports Republican John Cox for governor, and signaled he’s uncomfortable with California’s “sanctuary state” law that limits cooperation between law enforcement and immigration officials but wouldn’t say outright that he opposes it despite being pressed on it multiple times.

Call Voice of San Diego at 619-354-1085 and leave a message with your comment or question. We may end up using your voicemail in a future show.

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Kinsee Morlan

Kinsee Morlan was formerly the Engagement Editor at Voice of San Diego and author of the Culture...

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