Correction below on next city council meeting date on VRD’s.
A packed Lincoln City Council Chambers faced what looked like a dead-dog tired city council, giving the council opinions that were all over the map on proposed regulations on how the city ought to better control vacation rental dwellings (VRD’s). Frequent testifier Jim Hoover said he thought the whole process was pointless because the entire exercise seemed to him to be a solution in search of a problem. Hoover said he didn’t see anything wrong with vacation rental dwellings – that they contribute to the local economy which is critically important. Those who maintain VRD’s and the businesses who employ them urged the council to not drive VRD’s out of Lincoln City with what they termed overly restrictive regulations.
A visibly frustrated Mayor Dick Anderson tried repeatedly to get speakers to address their preferences to the three regulatory options that were before the council – but most didn’t pick one. They wanted pretty much the status quo to continue, as they saw it.
The main differences between the regulatory options are in a map where VRD’s could be located, where they couldn’t be located and regulations about any new VRD’s being approved or not approved. The flip side is a couple of alternatives that basically makes VRD’s okay just about everywhere in town but each applicant would have to make a case for their property continuing to be or becoming a VRD. Some raised the issue again of possible law suits dealing with Measure 49 if the city tried to limit the number of rental days or not renewing a VRD license or if a VRD owner tried to sell a VRD and in the process was turned down for future VRD use. Again several VRD owners made it plain they were prepared to sue to be compensated for the loss of their property value.
But City Attorney Richard Appichello has reiterated many times that such lawsuits would be struck down because Measure 49 pertains only to a residential property. Appicello said a VRD use is an “add-on” to a residential use. The city would not be saying the house couldn’t be used for residential purposes, but rather not for commercial use, which defines VRD’s as an accessory use. Primary vs. accessory. Therein lies the difference.
The VRD controversy bubbled up over the years as permanent residency neighbors grew weary of VRD’s filling with loud and rowdy out of town VRD renters who disrupted the neighborhood with loud music, loud cars, late night parties and leaving trash and parked cars all over the neighborhood.
A very weary city council made no decision on which set of VRD regulations should become the law of the city. They continued the public hearing to the council’s next city council meeting on February 24th, 6pm at city hall.
In other business the council told City Manager David Hawker to move ahead in developing a plan to extend sewer and water services into The Villages at the north end of Lincoln City. Before that can be done the city must work with the state Department of Environmental Quality for proper review of a utility lift station. It’s the first big step in getting development moving in that part of town which should give the city a handsome return on its investment in the property, purchased from a developer who was hammered by the recession and no customers for the development he, himself, had planned for the area. The city is also moving forward with including much of The Villages and surrounding properties within the city’s urban renewal district which will help finance sewer and water services for the area.
And the city moved ahead on an agreement to work jointly with ODOT to move sewer and water utility lines out of the Highway 101 right of way between 23rd and about 35th in anticipation of the big widening of the highway through there in the near future.