Supes explore increased regulations on Airbnb and Leap 

click to enlarge Supervisor Mark Farrell said luxury bus services like Leap are leading to an increasing number of complaints from his constituents. - COURTESY LEAP TRANSIT
  • Courtesy Leap Transit
  • Supervisor Mark Farrell said luxury bus services like Leap are leading to an increasing number of complaints from his constituents.

San Francisco’s booming technology industry is keeping business regulation at the forefront of the Board of Supervisors’ political debates.

One supervisor on Tuesday introduced legislation that would increase regulations on Airbnb. Another called for a hearing exploring the need to regulate Leap.

This month, high-ranking planning officials told a Board of Supervisors committee they couldn’t enforce the short-term rental law without changes to the regulations. The comments came just one month after the so-called Airbnb law went into effect.

On Tuesday, Supervisor David Campos introduced legislation he said would address the enforcement challenges expressed by the planning officials with a set of five new requirements.

Campos’ return to the short-term rental debate comes as there’s also an effort underway to place a measure on the November ballot that would impose stricter controls on short-term rentals.

“The fact is that unless we are able to enforce the laws we pass, the laws become meaningless,” Campos said. “That is exactly what has happened to the Airbnb law.”

The proposal for increased regulation incorporates pretty much all of the ideas that were scrapped during the contentious debate last year over legalizing short-term rentals.

They include a hard cap of 90 days on all short-term rentals, and online hosting platforms would have to provide monthly data on the number of stays for those registered. Platforms that list rentals without a registration number could be fined up to $1,000 per day.

The legislation would also prohibit short-term rentals in areas zoned RH1D, which currently does not allow any commercial activity. And it would include a right-to-action provision allowing nonprofits to take legal action on behalf of those impacted by illegal short-term rentals.

Campos would need at least six votes. He had two supporters Tuesday, Supervisors Eric Mar and John Avalos.

A date for further discussion of the Airbnb proposal hasn’t been set.

Leap regulations suggested

Meanwhile, Supervisor Mark Farrell said new luxury bus services cropping up like Leap are leading to an increasing number of complaints from his constituents. Those complaints include double parking and blocking driveways.

For a flat fee, Leap ferries tech-savvy riders from the Marina to downtown or South of Market.

Farrell said The City needs to figure out how to regulate those services, as he expects they will only expand in his district and throughout The City as riders look for alternatives to Muni buses, which are often crowded and unreliable.

“We need to approach regulation in a thoughtful way that allows these services that operate, but sets firm guidelines under which they can operate,” Farrell said. He said the services are meeting an unmet need with some Muni lines “swamped” and “beyond capacity.”

Leap, for example, takes the same route as Muni’s 30-Stockton and 30X-Marina Express lines, which run from Chestnut Street in the Marina.

The City is in discussion with the California Public Utilities Commission about its jurisdiction in imposing regulations on those services. Farrell requested a hearing with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority to discuss enforcement and regulations.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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