The Newport City Council was presented this week with a big challenge surrounding vacation rentals popping up more and more in regular neighborhoods – clearly an irresistible force against an immovable object. Those who own VRD’s don’t want to change the trend, or “invasion” as some regular residents call it. Those who live in regular houses contend their quality of life is rapidly falling due to many out-of-town VRD renters taking up a lot of the parking, throwing loud parties, leaving trash all over and generally making lots of noise. Regular residents say it’s not only stressful, it’s lowering their property values.
So the city council referred the issue to a council-appointed informal committee to study the issue. The committee recommended the above map to the city Planning Commission supposedly to get a handle on the rapid rise of VRDs in regular home areas. Red on the map is where VRDs are in regular housing areas. These VRDs would be phased out over time and would be invited to re-emerge closer to the Nye Beach and Bayfront sections of Newport – all closer to tourist attractions and facilities.
Most of the VRD owners told the council that they’ve invested heavily in their properties and they want to keep them. One elderly VRD owner said she wants to leave her home to her granddaughter, but under the proposed changes, she can’t because it would no longer be in a VRD approved part of town. Others asked the council to do the right thing – don’t pull the financial rug out from under them. But regular residents contend that more VRDs will simply remove more homes from the market thereby worsening the area’s severe housing shortage – certainly for lower income families. Others demanded more vigorous enforcement of Newport VRD regulations. Some called for a separate VRD code enforcement team to patrol the city.
The city council scheduled a council-only workshop to examine the issue on March 4th and come up with workable ideas on how to fix things. They’ll try to find workable options on where VRDs belong and how to keep their owners from losing a lot of money. Should they be phased out over five years, ten years or some other time interval? Or will they be grandfathered in and when the VRD owner sells the property, it’ll go back to being a regular house.
Once the workshop produces a list of options, they’ll be presented at a city council public hearing set for March 18th at City Hall where ideas will be presented and compromises hopefully reached.