An Effort to Better Manage Vacation Rentals in Newport Suffers Substantial Hiccup at City Council Meeting
Some time back the Newport City Council, reacting to growing neighborhood unrest with the growth of vacation rentals in various areas, decided to ask the city planning commission take the bull by the horns and begin to study and fix the problem – find some workable and livable compromise.
But when the planning commission selected their new members on the remediation committee, some Nye Beach neighbors especially, accused the commission of appointing what could easily be described as appointing foxes to guard the hen house. Neighbors claimed that the planning commission selected a combination of vacation rental owners, real estate agents, along with lawyers which greatly outnumbered three residents who told the council Tuesday night that their interests were cast aside. Some of those neighbors pointed out that some of the newly appointed committee members don’t even live in Newport.
The city council was quite taken aback by this revelation and wondered aloud how this situation evolved, especially in light of their understanding that the guidelines they gave the planning commission was to select a VRD advisory committee that would reverse some of the problems posed by VRDs – like noise, trash and parking problems, not to mention the loss of integrity and feel of a real neighborhood that they sorely miss.
Planning Director Derrick Tokos rushed in to defend the planning commission pointing out that the council had indicated they wanted balance in terms of VRD owners and residents as well as trying to mitigate typical neighbor-VRD complaints. He said the planning commission thought they were fulfilling the desires of the city council.
It didn’t take the city council long to hone in on what they sensed was a misunderstanding between what the council wanted and who the planning commission selected to be on the VRD committee.
In the end, the council went in to damage control-mode and, in fact, “strongly urged” the planning commission to expand the number of members on the VRD Advisory Committee. Right now there’s 11. The council suggested maybe three or four more, hinting strongly that the planning commission appoint candidates who are not VRD owners, realtors, lawyers and the like. They indicated regular citizens, perhaps living in VRD affected neighborhoods like Nye Beach, should be given a good chance of being selected and thereby heard by the whole community.
The planning commission will take up the issue again next Monday night, 7pm at Newport City Hall.