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The Way We Were
Ann Gardner | Via Latina

Short term rentals concentrated in the North Beach area.
Source: City of Del Mar.
Click on image to enlarge.

To hear some of the speakers at the April 16 City Council meeting one would think Del Mar has been saved from disaster by short term rentals (STR). “When we came here 30 years ago,” one STR owner said, “there were trashed houses all over the hill, trash everywhere, (in one) the back yard was littered with empty beer bottles, it was just party zones for college students. Now we have families and retired couples coming for a week. That’s a positive change.”

Was this the same Del Mar our family moved to in 1965 where, after renting a nice house on tenth street for two years, we bought a house where our three children grew up playing with neighborhood kids, walking, biking or taking a bus to schools with amazing teachers, joining the high school track team, the yearbook staff or spending their senior year as an exchange student in Japan, marrying and now raising their own children? The same town where as a family we spent hours on the beach with other families to lop a volley ball, share books and plan for shared dinners or the traditional take back the town from the tourists Del Mar Civic Association picnic? Not to mention populating numerous City committees to create a Community Plan that has preserved the best of Del Mar to become one of the most desirable places in the country to live? Yes, we even supported a UCSD student to City Council and worked with a number of students on community planning efforts.

Unfortunately all this seems to have resulted in our midcentury small town turning from what used to be considered an “out in the boonies” suburb of La Jolla to one of the most desired locations on VRBO for short term rentals. And according to some of the speakers these short term renters are going to save us from impending bankruptcy. One STR owner commented to me “who is going to pay for our new City Hall? They are (with the money they spend in town).” In the meantime long time Del Mar residents in the North Beach area are thinking of leaving their neighborhood of visitors to find another neighborhood of residents just like the Del Mar I remember.



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