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Important votes in front of the Lincoln County Commission

POTENTIAL VOTE ON Short Term Rentals (STR, Vacation Rental Dwellings (VRD), Short Term Vacation Rentals (STVR)
Link to December 14 Board of Commissioners Agenda and Constituent Comment: https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/363543508b294a83b78cc663fd4dff6b
The three people who can act immediately to change how STRs are transforming Unincorporated Lincoln County meet on Monday, December 14, at 3 pm. See the link above. 
They know, and now you do, too, that our housing market has a vacancy rate of less than 1%, forcing rents (and purchase prices) to skyrocket. This is not because our population is exploding. It is because STRs have exploded, and our long-term housing stock has imploded. I am among many long-term residents who are grateful that the Temporary of Suspension of New STR Licenses (the Moratorium) has lasted as long as it has. But it ends on December 31. since March
The Commissioners and 15neighborhoods each want a comprehensive STR Code based on sound public policy and infused with available facts. Sound public policy requires more than just “better enforcement” or lower maximum occupancies. Sound public policy requires (1) caps on the number of STRs and (2) caps on where they are located, just as the cities have done.
The Commissioners have talked about geographic or neighborhood-specific caps. They have spoken about the non-transferability of STR Business Licenses, a two-person/bedroom occupancy limit, and requiring all STRs on septic systems to have an Existing Septic Evaluation Report (ESERs) and to have occupancy based on the size of the tank, not the number of bedrooms. This is all hopeful. 
County Counsel will present an Options Memo to the Commissioners tomorrow. The Commissioners have repeatedly said they want to enact a Comprehensive STR Code. Many elements of a comprehensive, fact-based, and policy-driven STR Code have not been presented to them. 
However, the Commissioners could take a significant vote tomorrow and adopt five elements of an interim proposal set out in the Comments submitted by 15neighborhoods. 
Look at 15neighborhoods letter below. Ask the Commissioners to adopt each element at their meeting on December 14. 
If they adopt the cap, allowing the Moratorium to lapse on December 31 will not increase STRs. Why? Because STRs already represent 4% of the County-wide housing stock, according to County Counsel. The cap having been reached, the County can not issue new STR Business Licenses. Annual renewals will continue. If they also prohibit STR Business Licenses from being transferred upon sale, the number of STRs will decrease by attrition. [We still need to Ballot Measure to phase out STRs in the residential zones, but caps will provide relief in the interim.]
Commissioner Hall recently said the County receives de minimis revenue from STRs. In 2019, she testified in Salem to the impact of STRs on our workforce housing stock. Our housing vacancy rate is less than 1%, and our housing demand is at an all-time high. 
Does Lincoln County need STRs? No. The STR Investors need Lincoln County’s existing residential homes.
The STR Industry says if the County only had “better enforcement” of violations, all the neighborhood complaints about disruption will go away. Ha! Even if the County had the money to catch 100% of the violators, enforcement alone could not restore the damage that STRs have done to our long-term housing stock for renters and buyers who make the County their home.
We will keep you informed as opportunities to Engage and Comment come up. I expect the next 2-3 months will be busy for everyone with a stake in this game.
Also, check out www.15neighborhoods.com for Research and Resources, Community Comments, Views from the Steering Committee, FAQs, and “How to File a Complaint” about an STR, whether licensed or not. 
Send the website link to each of your Contacts who lives anywhere in Lincoln County. The website has the STR Petition and the Petition’s Single-Signature Sheet to download and sign. 
IMPORTANT: All registered Lincoln County voters can sign even though the STR Ballot Measure’s Petition will not affect the STR Codes in the cities. 

 

Our website includes a link to voter registration.
Respectfully,
Monica Kirk, Steering Committee
P.O. Box 390
Depoe Bay 97341
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