The following is a Letter to the Editor, from the Burks Family:
RAW TRUTH ABOUT GROWING NUMBERS OF VACATION RENTALS:
The raw truth about the damaging impact of short term vacation rentals on permanent residential housing is not unique to Lincoln County. Popular tourist destinations throughout Oregon and beyond are struggling with the balancing act of supporting tourism while not sacrificing housing for permanent residents.
Vacation rental investors want to convince regular long-term residents and new long-term residents, that there is no need to limit vacation rentals outside city limits because their location is often cost prohibitive to anyone other than investors who profit off the income of vacation rentals in or near regular residential neighborhoods.
Take a drive through any of these neighborhoods outside city limits: Beverly Beach, Gleneden Beach, Pacific Shores, Surfland, Seal Rock, and South Beach. You will see these neighborhoods and many others full of average single family homes, many of which have been purchased by vacation rental INVESTORS. Lincoln County Housing Report 2019 estimates there are 2,200 vacation rentals across the county, plus regular hotel, motels and campgrounds to provide accommodations for tourists. There is no shortage of accommodations for tourists but what about Lincoln County residents and future residents?
Our neighborhoods outside city limits house healthcare workers, educators, engineers, law enforcement, heavy equipment operators, carpenters, plumbers, retired military and many others who are essential for the LOCAL economy. Sadly 10% of the housing in our neighborhood has turned into vacation rentals. This is an irreplaceable loss of housing for families. Many other neighborhoods have lost as much as 50% of their housing to vacation rental investors.
As Lincoln County CITIES are cracking down and putting limits on vacation rentals, vacation rental investors are buying up precious land right outside the city limits. The Lincoln County Housing Strategy Plan of 2019 reveals that Lincoln City has a policy to “control the number and locations of vacation rentals in order to preserve adequate housing for permanent residents. Meanwhile, Depoe Bay suggests phasing out or reducing existing vacation rentals. More recently, Yachats and Newport implemented limits on vacation rentals in order to preserve permanent residential housing.
Housing Analysis and Action Plan for Coos County-2018 noted, “Housing that has been converted to seasonal vacation rentals, combined with very little new housing construction, has led to a housing crisis in our county since 2010.” Coos County officials say the county’s population has remained relatively static but has lost more than 1,500 housing units in the residential supply chain to vacation or short-term rentals. Permanent residents have felt the impact of this constrained supply of housing, driving up housing prices and inflating rents as well.”
In Deschutes County (Bend), housing for low to moderate income households is in very short supply. Available housing across the county is remarkably scarce and notoriously expensive.
Key findings and recommendations for Clatsop County, according to their housing study done in 2018, shows that commercial use (including vacation rentals) of residential land should be discouraged and/or controlled to an extent possible. It would be very helpful to shift the mindset to thinking of these as commercial uses (like a hotel) being used in residential zones where they may not be appropriate.
What is the vision of Lincoln County? – “Investors Welcome – Residents Get Out!” or “Lincoln County, Where We Welcome and Support All Our Present AND Future Permanent Residents.”
We need to preserve housing in low density single family neighborhoods by instituting a permanent limit, both county-wide and in established neighborhoods.
All Lincoln County voters have a voice. Sign the vacation rental petition available at 15neighborhoods.com and/or request immediate limits from our Lincoln County Commissioners at the following emails:
* firstname.lastname@example.org (County Commission Chairwoman Kaety Jacobson)
* email@example.com (County Commissioner Doug Hunt)
* firstname.lastname@example.org (County Commissioner Claire Hall)
Tim and Traci Burks