North County Report: Del Mar Is Standing Its Ground on Vacation Rentals
A “managed growth” initiative probably won’t make the November ballot, but several pot measures will.
Del Mar is gearing up for a battle with the state agency responsible for protecting public access to the coast over short-term vacation rental regulations.
Last month, the California Coastal Commission rejected Del Mar’s decision to require visitors to stay in vacation rentals for a minimum of seven days and limit the total number of days that hosts can open their homes to 28 days annually, saying those rules were too severe.
Instead, the commission recommended that residents require a three-day minimum stay of renters and open their homes for no more than 100 days annually — something Del Mar now rejects.
“We can’t let short-term rentals swallow up our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Dwight Worden, according to the Union-Tribune, at Monday’s City Council meeting.
Because much of Del Mar lays within the coastal zone, its land-use decisions go before the commission. The city agreed to make a new proposal and come up with a plan that might satisfy the commissioners.
“I’m open to changing the numbers,” said Worden, according to the U-T. “I say we stand our ground and negotiate for something better.”
Housing Measure May Get Pushed to 2020
The backers of a “managed growth” initiative in rural parts of the county issued a last-minute call for cash and signatures urging volunteers to “PLEASE, PLEASE help get the word out.”
Despite the anxious tone of the request, organizers of the Save Our San Diego Countryside ballot measure say they’ve got the necessary signatures. They need about 68,000, and they plan to file around 100,000 on Monday, the last day possible.
But as the U-T reported, the campaign is probably out of time to qualify for the November ballot. The signature validation process can take upward of 30 days, without counting weekends, and the November ballot deadline is Aug. 10.
Susan Baldwin, one of the organizers with San Diegans for Managed Growth, told Voice that the campaign had fully expected the initiative could go to voters in 2020 instead. They’ve relied for months on both paid signature-gatherers and volunteers, raising at least $162,000, according to the latest campaign finance disclosures.
If the initiative is approved this year or in 2020, developers who deviate from the county general plan would need to ask voters for permission. Proponents say it’ll prevent urban sprawl.
The building industry and its allies, on the other hand, have portrayed the initiative as a selfish act by homeowners during a housing crisis and say general plan amendments are necessary to keep up with the times. The general plan was last updated and approved by officials in 2011.
In response to the criticisms, Baldwin and others have pointed to a SANDAG report showing that the general plan already allows for as many as 67,800 units in unincorporated San Diego County by 2035. The current round of proposed general plan amendments constitute roughly 10,000 units.
Pot Shops Will Be on Many Local Ballots
The City Council decided not to lift a ban on commercial marijuana activities in March, leading to an industry-backed measure that would allow for cultivation and manufacturing facilities and dispensaries.
The Association of Cannabis Professionals says the ballot measure creates a system of permits but returns control of those provisions to the City Council after three years.
“They can make changes but only to improve certain aspects,” said executive director Dallin Young. “They can’t reduce the amount of licenses passed by the voters.”
The city is the site of not one but three initiatives in November.
The first is being pushed by activists and industry professionals and would allow for medical marijuana dispensaries, taxing gross receipts at 7 percent, according to the Coast News. It’s already qualified for the ballot.
The City Council has put up two of its own measures, one of which would set aside three non-storefront retail delivery services and two testing labs. The other is a 5 percent tax on those delivery services.
Activists and industry professionals are also working on a ballot measure in Oceanside, but the signature-gathering process started late, so it probably won’t appear until 2020. It would allow for dispensaries, which are prohibited in the city’s current medical marijuana ordinance.
Local Campaign Season Has Arrived
The window to run for city councils, school boards and special districts opened on Monday. Candidates have until Aug. 10 to file the necessary paperwork, possibly later. There’s a five-day extension if an incumbent decides not to run for re-election.
In Carlsbad, at least four newcomers are seeking two seats, according to the Coast News.
The newspaper also notes that five North County cities — Carlsbad, Encinitas, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista — will be holding district-based elections for the first time in November. Escondido made the switch in 2013.
In Other News
- Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear is stumping for 49th Congressional District candidate Mike Levin. Both are Democrats.
- Solana Beach gave its firefighters and other employees a raise in salary and benefits. (Del Mar Times)
- The Del Mar Union School District could put a $73.3 million general obligation bond on the November ballot for facilities. (Del Mar Times)
- The Carlsbad City Council approved Village and Barrio Master Plan, allowing for new buildings up to 45 feet tall and under certain conditions. (The Coast News)
- A judge ruled that the son of a Chargers player will stand trial on charges of kidnapping and raping two women in Encinitas. (The Coast News)
- Tony Hawk rules. The Carlsbad skating legend surprised the family of another pro skater with a home remodel. (Union-Tribune)
- A group of gun owners is offering to donate $10,000 to charity if opponents of the Crossroads of the West Gun Show in Del Mar can show proof of their insinuation that illegal gun sales are taking place inside. (Union-Tribune)
- inewsource reports that the HiCaliber Horse Rescue in Valley Center has come under fire again — this time for creating a new fundraising campaign around an old photo of an emaciated horse in Florida.