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San Diego County Digest

San Diego

November 04, 1987

The San Diego City Council has adopted a new plan to save downtown's aging but critical stock of residential hotels, paving the way for the end of an emergency ordinance that has halted demolition or conversion of the buildings for the past 23 months.

The council on Tuesday approved an ordinance that would establish a minimum number of residential hotel rooms in the city. As long as the supply of the rooms stays above that minimum, hotel owners would be free to demolish their buildings or convert them for other uses.

But if the supply dips below the minimum, owners would have to replace the rooms elsewhere on a one-for-one basis if they demolish or convert their buildings.

Though there are some variations, San Diego residential hotel rooms typically offer small, single rooms that rent by the day, week or month at prices ranging from $200 to $375 a month. Bathrooms and kitchens are usually shared.

The minimum number of rooms will be set after a January survey by San Diego Housing Commission staff members determines the number of such rooms that were available for $250 or less in 1985, when the emergency provisions went into effect. Steven Mikelman, the commission's coordinator of programs and policies, estimated that the number of rooms will be 2,000 to 2,800.

The emergency provisions will remain in effect until about March, when the new threshold is implemented. The emergency provisions were approved in December, 1985, when city officials realized that the number of downtown rooms, which house many of the city's downtown poor, was dropping precipitously.

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