For the last two Lincoln County Commission meetings, residents living outside city limits unleashed a flurry of criticism with no small quantity of angst over new regulations for vacation homes that lie within established neighborhoods like Gleneden Beach.
Their main complaint was that vacation homes have been popping up all over, disrupting the calm, quiet neighborhood environment they all thought they had invested in – some with their life savings. They said noise, trash, traffic and clogged streets, caused by too much on street parking that comes with vacation rentals, makes getting out of their driveways sometimes impossible, and certainly poses life and death situations if ambulances and fire trucks can’t get through to emergency calls.
On the other side of it, vacation rental home owners and those running rental home management agencies said they and their clients have invested fortunes in their vacation facilities and that they try their best to make their properties a healthy addition to neighborhoods while infusing much needed cash into the Lincoln County tourist economy – restaurants, grocery stores, live theater, fishing trips, whale watching and shopping.
VRD management company owner Jon Oskenholt admitted that there are VRDs operating in the county that disrupt neighborhoods and make like tough for permanent residents. But he said that’s a result of VRD owners or property managers who don’t properly manage their VRDs. He said effective enforcement of VRD rules is the key. He said Lincoln County can have both the economic benefits from enhanced tourism while still enjoying pleasant neighborhood environments that brought permanent residents to the county in the first place.
To that end, county commissioners are proposing rules that all VRDs contract with local trash hauling companies like North Lincoln and Thompson Sanitary or Dahl Disposal to haul trash away immediately after renters leave. Commissioners also propose that any complaints about noise or trash go immediately to the VRD owner or management company and that they MUST respond to the problem, on site, within one hour. Repeated valid complaints or lack of owner/management agency response, are grounds for revocation of their VRD license.
As for cars clogging the streets and roads, commissioners say if a VRD doesn’t have enough OFF-STREET parking, they must cut back on the number of guests.
As for enforcement, county commissioners say they’re hiring a full time code enforcement officer to check on VRDs to make sure they’re following the rules. Regular sheriff’s patrol deputies can also be on hand to provide back-up.
The new VRD regulations are expected to be adopted in early August.