Lincoln City: Effort to scrap “Accessory Use” for VRDs fails, Disc Golf at The Villages gets green lightYet another attempt to expand vacation rental use failed again during this week’s city council meeting. The motion to suspend the accessory use provision, with its 90 night rental limit, which many VRDs have, through December 31st was made by Councilor Wes Ryan and seconded by Mayor Don Williams, himself a vacation rental investor.
Councilor Wahlke noted that the city has been working hard to come up with solutions to the VRD challenge and that the city is getting close to those solutions. Councilor Anderson said it’s his opinion that no matter what the council does “there is a (pro-VRD) group out there who will try to overturn us again. Frankly I’m not inclined to vote for this motion.” City Attorney Richard Appicello commented that a simple motion on a land use issue does not comply with state law. He reminded the council that land use decisions, like rescinding the Accessory Use provision, requires proper noticing to the public and a public hearing held to debate the merits of rescinding that provision. Anything short of that does not comply with state land use law.
The vote was four to two against the motion. Councilors Sprague, Noreikis, Wahlke and Anderson against – Councilor Ryan and Mayor Williams in favor.
Another joint city council/planning commission workshop is coming up very soon where these and other VRD related issues are expected to be debated. In the meantime City Manager Ron Chandler and city staff are planning to hold a number of Town Hall meetings around the area to get public comment on a range of opinions on VRDs and their use.
It is a verifiable fact that many homes – even bungalows – up and down the coast are being converted to VRDs. While that puts more money into the bank accounts of property owners and property management firms and grows the number of maintenance jobs, it further depletes the region’s stock of affordable housing needed by maintenance workers and other tourist related jobs like restaurant cooks and food servers and retail stores that growing numbers of VRD renters frequent. It’s a situation that is becoming more and more unbalanced.
State Land Use law specifically states that as part of every city and county land use plan, the document must contain a balanced view of city and county land allocations that accommodates housing of all income groups as well as good mixes of industrial and commercial uses. And in many communities around Oregon, if not the country, affordable housing is shrinking fast.
Disc Golf coming to Lincoln City
City Community Development staff won approval this week to create an 18 hole disc golf course to be situated in the undeveloped portions of “The Villages,” at the intersection of Voyage Way and upper NE Devils Lake Road. City Planner Deborah Nicholson said the golf course would be cheap to build and draw many tourists who love disc golf, especially when they travel to an area with a new course, or is part of a tournament circuit.
The city of course acquired “The Villages” area as part of a larger expanse of land from a developer that sold it to the city several years ago, and the plan for the land remains housing. So the golf course would be only temporary until those housing plans move forward into actual construction.
What the council approved was a motion to move forward on a design for the disc course and to give boosters time to raise money to build it in a 35 acre area – total cost just under $20,000. The council was assured that the boosters would do a great deal of fundraising and raise money through tournament and fundraising events at the course to keep it maintained. They said the city shouldn’t have to add the course to the city’s already over-extended parks maintenance program.
Once the design of the course is perfected, boosters will return to the city for final review and approval – then construction. Again, the group will maintain the facility and pick up trash in the area that currently is a significant eye-sore, so the net effect will be having a proven tourist draw while beautifying the area. A nice combo.
Boosters say the Willamette Valley is full of disc courses as well as in Tillamook and Newport. They’re all well used and enjoyed not only by locals but also by those who love to travel to special events and competitions in the region. They say disc golf is right behind #1 Pickle Ball as America’s favorite leisure outdoor sport. They expect the disc golf course to grow rapidly in popularity that even when housing construction pushes it out of the way, it’ll pop up in another location in the area simply because of its popularity.