Keep fighting

for your rights

First, thank you so much for your interest, support and participation in the Nov. 1 City Council hearing on short term rentals. We share your deep disappointment over the outcome of the hearing.  But, we are fighting on. We hope you'll not only stay with us, but increase the pressure on the City to do the right thing.


We're optimistic the tide is turning over entire home mini-motels in San Diego. Our optimism begins with the 3 candidates Save San Diego Neighborhoods endorsed and you helped elect:


Mara Elliott, City Attorney-Elect

Elliott replaces Jan Goldsmith as City Attorney on Dec. 12. She has said enforcement against illegal STR can and will begin on Day 1 of her term.


Barbara Bry, City Council-Elect

Bry replaces Sherri Lightner as the District 1 City Council member. Among her first priorities is solving the STR problem in San Diego.


G. Gomez, City Council-Elect

Georgette Gomez defeated Ricardo Flores, who had aligned himself with the STR Alliance. She replaces Marti Emerald in District 9.


Results didn't happen by accident; we need your help now

Save San Diego Neighborhoods not only endorsed Mara Elliott, Barbara Bry and Georgette Gomez early - when they were heavy underdogs - but worked tirelessly to help elect them.


In addition to contacting its thousands of members via email newsletters like this one, SSDN posted online ads viewed hundreds of thousands of times, spoke at neighborhood meetings, hung banners over freeways, printed and displayed yard signs for the candidates, worked phones for the candidates, and walked the neighborhoods it is committed to protecting for the candidates. It worked. Thanks to you, the environment at City Hall is starting to change.


But, it didn't come cheaply. SSDN is a grass roots citizens group fighting a $30 billion company (Airbnb) to preserve the soul of our neighborhoods. Please, any contribution you can make - it doesn't need to be large - will help SSDN keep fighting. Rest assured, ALL options are on the table until the City protects our neighborhoods by enforcing residential zoning protections clearly guaranteed in the Municipal Code. SSDN is excited about working with the changed governing team at City Hall.


Please click the button below to contribute. Thank you again for your support.

Airbnb loses in court

in San Francisco

In a lawsuit brought by the City Attorney in San Francisco that may spread to other cities, a court ruled this week that Airbnb can't charge fees for illegal STR in San Francisco.

Join the fight

Save San Diego Neighborhoods is a true "grassroots" group begun by concerned citizens after the Pacific Beach Planning Group passed recommendations to regulate short-term vacation rentals on March 3, 2015. We are a 401-C non-profit organization.

Yesterday, in a 7-2 vote the San Diego City Council declined to make edits as suggested by sitting City Attorney Goldsmith in his December, 2015 memo to the “Visitor Accommodations” ordinance (SDMC section 131.0112(a)(6)(K)).


The proposed edits were to delete the word “primarily” and to insert a definition for “visitors and tourists” to conform to the definition of “transient” used by the City Treasurer when levying Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). TOT is presently levied on all hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts, as well as STRs.


Council President Lightner and Councilmember Zapf presented these edits as minor amendments which would clarify the Visitor Accommodations ordinance and facilitate enforcement. City Attorney Goldsmith suggested that making these minor edits would more clearly define a use category in the San Diego Municipal Code within which STRs would fall. And that these changes would provide clarification to STR owners and operators, as well as the residents and citizens of San Diego as to the purpose and activity of the use category, Visitor Accommodations and the application of this use category to STRs.


In his December, 2015 memo, sitting City Attorney Goldsmith opined that the Visitor Accommodations ordinance bars “residential uses that provide lodging . . . primarily to visitors and tourists”. At the hearing yesterday he reiterated his opinion that the ordinance is too vague and therefore not readily enforceable against STRs and STVRs. He offered that the City Attorney’s Office had never been requested to prosecute an STR or STVR under the Visitor Accommodations ordinance. Council President Lightner pointed out that the reason he had not been asked to prosecute the owner/operator of an STR/STVR is because the Development Services Department, from whom criminal referrals for code violations come, had not been citing violators because of confusion created by memos issued by the City Attorney.


The terms, “short term rental” and “short term vacation rental” are not defined, and are not found in the Use Regulations Tables, in the San Diego Municipal Code. San Diego, like every other major California city, utilizes a permissive zoning method which prohibits any uses not listed in the municipal code. As a result of the vote yesterday, the uses, STRs and STVRs continue to be undefined and do not fall within any applicable use category in the San Diego Municipal Code.


As a result, STR and STVR, which if the amendments had been approved by the City Council would have fallen into the use definition, Visitor Accommodations, are now undeniably prohibited and not permitted in any San Diego.


Ultimately, the vote yesterday was to apply, and prompt the enforcement of the Visitor Accommodations ordinance against entire home short term rentals in residential zones.


It remains to be seen whether the sitting Director of the City of San Diego, Development Services Department, Robert Vacchi and sitting City Attorney Jan Goldsmith will act to enforce the municipal code and proceed to cite STVR and STR owners and operators.


But, Council President Lightner, joined by Councilmember Zapf, expressed her desire that they do just that. Following the vote Lightner she said, “We urge the City to begin enforcing our existing municipal code zoning regulations now to bring relief to the thousands of residents who face nightly negative impacts from commercial hotel operations in their neighborhoods.”


While we at Save San Diego Neighborhoods remain optimistic that the law will be enforced, both now and after the election of a new City Attorney, we urge all San Diego residents, wherever they reside, whose neighborhoods, homes and lives are adversely impacted by short term rentals to continue to lodge complaints with law enforcement, including the San Diego Police Department and DSD, Code Enforcement.


And we urge you to vote – and get the vote out - for City Attorney candidate, Mara Elliott, City Council District 1 candidate, Barbara Bry and City Council District 9 candidate, Georgette Gomez.

City Council fails to pass proposal minor edits to Code designed to make enforcement on STR easier


A sign of the times: Stop STVR banner gets out the message about saving neighborhoods to Interstate 5 traffic

Momentum keeps building

From Anaheim, to Clairemont, to the U.S. Senate, government is taking action to protect neighborhoods from commercial STRs.

When will San Diego about to step up?

Thought for the day:

58 percent of short-term vacation rentals in Laguna Beach have out-of-town landlords, says Ann Larson, assistant director of community development for the city. "We’re a world-renowned destination. We could fill up every single house with tourists. You’re constantly having people come and go who you don’t know. You don’t have that connection of having neighbors who know you. You can’t regulate that. You can’t condition that. The only way you can regulate it, is by not allowing short-term lodging.” See how Laguna Beach is responding.

News and events

City Attorney Memo:

Existing Municipal Code bars from residential zones uses that provide lodging primarily to visitors, tourists. Why not enforce this already? See Dec. 21 memo.



864 Grand Avenue, PMB 526, San Diego CA   92109