Vacation Rental Dwellings
Lincoln County Commissioners this week spent a lot of time on a couple of issues – getting a handle on the status of vacation rental dwellings (VRD) and how new federal tsunanmi inundation maps might affect property owner insurance rates and property values.
Commissioners said it’s been a while since they had the number of vacation dwelling units accurately tabulated in areas outside city limits. County Counsel/Administrator Wayne Belmont told the Commission that there are probably a lot of VRDs that aren’t even registered within the county’s unincorporated areas or violating the limits of how many vacationers can occupy a single VRD. Belmont said the county is working diligently to fix that by acquiring VRD management software like Tillamook County and the city of Newport currently use. The county, says Belmont, is revamping its complaint system and VRD enforcement is being stepped up to make sure occupancy limits are not being violated. They’re also examining transient room tax receipts to make sure VRD regulations are being followed. There’s also the issue of capping the number of such rentals. Belmont said there will be two public workshops on all this and more in early October. Look on the county’s website and search for “What’s New” and that should lead citizens to the time and day of the workshops.
The use of septic tanks for VRDs is common in the outlying county areas. The county intends to investigate whether some VRDs are allowing too many guests at one time and overwhelming their septic systems. Also their county septic inspection schedules – are they being met? The county has records of who is on septic, but officials admit there are unlicensed septics all over the county – no specific estimate – especially if they’re being used as VRDs.
County Animal Shelter Update
Commissioners then directed their attention to taking the next step to replacing the old County Animal Shelter. After considerable back-and-forth among commissioners and staff it was agreed that the old shelter must be torn down and a temporary shelter, in the form of modular building components, should take its place until a permanent site and facility can be envisioned and built. No time line for all this was laid out but it appears that the commission is motivated to get the transition going.
Providing affordable single family homes in Lincoln County
The Lincoln County Commission approved an ambitious plan to provide at least five affordably built new homes in the Lincoln City area. The county owns some land that is close to streets, utilities and other amenities and this week the Commission formally decided to turn those lots over to two separate affordable housing non-profit groups to receive the land and then go shopping for contractors. Non-profits Northwest Coastal Housing and Habitat for Humanity combined forces to make the arrangements and said they’ll get to work on them as soon as the deal with the county is signed. Commissioners said they will sign.
County under the gun on Federal Tsunami/Flood Maps
Oregon Coast residents are by now very fatigued of thinking about “The Big One” that some scientists say is just around the corner. Of course they’re talking about figuring out which homes, commercial buildings and public facilities are situated where they’re sitting ducks for a big earthquake and tsunami that some geologists predict is likely to occur in the near future. The offshore Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake roars up just about every 250 to 350 years. Many speculate we’re due for another one due to the fact that the last one was on January 26, 1700 – over 300 years ago.
Lincoln County Planning Director Onno Husing says the federal government is in the processing of analyzing all this and setting up new flood insurance rates that for some property owners could rise substantially. Others would see no increase in insurance rates at all.
In response, Husing and his county planners are scheduling public meetings to explain all this at a PUBLIC meeting of the county Planning Commission and a PUBLIC meeting at the County Commission. The “public-invited” Planning Commission meeting is set for September 30th and the “public-invited” County Commission meeting is set for October 9th. Watch for times on the county website and here on NewsLincolnCounty.com.
Husing says if your property is not in a flood zone, nothing changes. If your property is within a flood zone your home insurance rates could be affected. Both Belmont and Husing re-emphasized that the federal government is inflicting this program across the nation. It’s not just Oregon. He said all property owners are encouraged to call the county planning department to figure out their own situation as revealed by the new flood maps. Husing also strongly urged all property owners with land near the water to check with their property insurance agency.