Lincoln City City Attorney Richard Appicello informed his city council Monday night that the State Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) threw out the complaints against city hall filed by those who oppose efforts to try to rein in the growth of vacation rentals.
Opposition groups decried the city council’s new ordinances that limit the spread of new VRDs claiming that it’s wrong to punish VRD owners who play by the rules and enforce good neighborliness by their renters.
Meanwhile, city hall has been bombarded with complaints about loud out-of-control parties, racing cars, trash blowing around and generally making some neighborhoods well neigh impossible to live in. Certainly not the neighborhood environment that residents thought they were buying into.
So the new regulations establish zones where vacation rentals are free to operate, either without limits on the number of rental nights per year or 180 nights per year or 30 nights per year, depending on the circumstances. That did not play well with many vacation home rental owners who appealed to the state to intervene.
But LUBA took the side of the city – the city saying it’s only trying to regain control over a rising problem in the community.
However, opponents haven’t given up. They’ve taken a third city ordinance, the one on how VRDs are supposed to be licensed, and referred that to the Lincoln County Circuit Court for resolution.
Meanwhile the city council Monday night launched the next phase in its VR Zone plan, where vacation rentals can be located pretty easily – almost as easily as in commercial business zones.
Last time, a wide open VR Zone was established from roughly NW 25th Street up to the south side of the Chinook Winds Hotel-Casino. Monday night the council reviewed a new VR Zone from Nelscott down through Taft and Cutler City. Of those who testified for or against this second installment, it was hot and cold. Some said there shouldn’t be any restrictions on the rentals while others blamed VRDs for degrading beaches, scaring off wildlife and generally making a mess of what used to be very liveable neighborhoods.
The council thanked everyone for their thoughtful comments and then closed the public hearing, but left open WRITTEN testimony to the council through June 8th. The council then agreed to try to establish VR zones from above Nelscott all the way south through Taft and Cutler City, marked in blue on the maps. A decision on all that could come as early as June 22nd.
And of course there’s always more on the topic of vacation rentals. There are two Lincoln City ballot measures on the May 19th election. The measures ask Lincoln City voters to repeal the city’s new VRD ordinances.
Never a dull moment.