Lincoln City’s long slogging saga of what to do about vacation rental dwellings (VRD’s) may be coming to a constructive end, depending on your view of them. Blamed for problems A-Z in terms of neighborhood disruptions, the city set out a couple of years ago to come up with a regulatory system that protects the peace and quiet of residential areas while offering vacation options for visitors to the coast, not to mention tax revenue to the city. And it’s a lot of money that goes to police, fire, streets and tourism promotion efforts connected with the city’s Visitor and Convention Bureau.
After many meetings of a special committee set up to study the issue, along with public hearings on the matter, the city’s planning commission will be deliberating Tuesday evening at city hall over what the new regulatory format should look like. And it’s a bit complicated. A copy of the proposed new VRD regulations are available on the city’s website (click here) but as with most ordinance language, to the uneducated eye, it’s pretty hard to understand.
The planning commission’s meeting begins Tuesday night, February 4th at 6pm in the city council chambers at city hall. But if you go, you’ll be going to observe the deliberations between the planning commissioners themselves. No public testimony or any form of public opinion will be allowed. There already have been such discussions before the planning commission during earlier meetings. The meeting Tuesday night is for the commission to make up their minds on what they’re going to RECOMMEND to the city council: regulations as proposed or as proposed with changes. At a later city council session another WIDE-OPEN PUBLIC HEARING will be conducted on the planning commission’s recommendations.
There are two basic ways forward on VRD’s (so far): One with “Yes or No” zones around the city where you can have or not have them with consideration made for already existing VRD’s. The other, “Yes or No” zones based on individual VRD owner applications to the city. There are quite loud differences of opinion on each alternative. One other aspect that surfaced recently is a hardening of penalties for VRD owners, or wanna be owners, who break the rules or run outlaw VRD’s. One supplemental penalty added to the mix is JAIL TIME. That’s to change the attitudes of some VRD owners who break the rules and get fined, but who think of the fines as merely an added cost of doing business. Adding jail time is likely to be seen in a different light.
Lincoln City is renown for it’s seemingly never-ending headaches surrounding VRD’s. The city council and the community at large appears more than eager to get something down in writing and with enough regulatory teeth to put the issue behind them for at least a few years.
Planning Commission, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 6pm, Lincoln City Council Chambers, third floor, City Hall. The issues comes before the Lincoln City City Council, with public comment, on Monday, February 10th, 6pm at City Hall. After public comment, the council could move to adopt the planning commission’s recommendations, modify them, or continue studying the issue.