However, City Economic Development Committee member Michael Kiefert said with proper controls enforced by vacation property management businesses, problems could be kept to a minimum. He also said that tax revenues from expanded vacation rentals could help shoulder the cost of city code enforcement, require performance bonds for compliance, and make vacation rentals subject to being a conditional use – which comes with legal strings attached as to how they’re operated.
However, opposition to expanded vacation rentals came swiftly and was resolute. Residents said vacation rentals are often owned by out-of-town owners who don’t properly screen their customers and have no idea that their customers are throwing noisy all-night parties, making noise in the street, leaving garbage strewn about or in overstuffed garbage cans that are caught by the wind, letting their dogs run, etc. Critics also pointed out that Depoe Bay does not have a property tax dedicated to city government and that Depoe Bay’s only law enforcement is on a contract basis with the sheriff’s office that, more than likely, can’t begin to enforce adequate compliance by tenants of vacation rentals. Others said the revenues, through room tax or licensing fees would probably not cover the cost of city hired code enforcement officers. Others pointed to Lincoln City’s experience with vacation rentals, something they termed “a giant mess” which has yet to be resolved.
There was also references made to a proposed big new housing subdivision in north Depoe Bay that could be used as an experiment – turn it into a guinea pig to see if vacation rentals could operate and still be good neighbors.
Councilor Zeke Olsen reminded everyone that Depoe Bay needs more revenue for roads, sewer/water system improvements, and the like. But a member of the audience admonished the council that whatever fees or revenues expanded vacation rentals might produce would be eaten up by simply licensing and regulating them. There would be little if anything left over for infrastructure.
The council’s final take on the discussion appeared to be to closely examine the issue but go slow and involve the public at every step.