LETTER TO THE EDITOR:
“We Didn’t Start This, You Did” aka Whack-a-Mole
I am tired of playing whack-a-mole every time someone from the for profit Short Term Rental (STR – sometimes VRD) industry comes out with some new angle to call out “15neighborhoods,” a local group wanting to more tightly regulate STR’ and VRD’s. Here is the definitive answer to all these critics and would be critics: we did not start this, YOU DID!
2016 began the STR licensing Ordinance with no rules where STRs would be sited: anything was allowed. Lincoln County kept getting more STRs and less long term rental homes. STRs are a non-conforming use of a residential property that continues in perpetuity! People from all over the state of Oregon, across the Country and Canada too came to Lincoln County for the wild west free-for-all property grab! And County residents who cannot find homes to rent or purchase, suffer.
We did not change our County – you did. You made your home into an ATM and you cash out every night your property is rented. And you are scared that this time, maybe the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners is going to limit your cash machine.
Neighbors have no say concerning the amount of STRs in our neighborhoods. An STR owner has only to own a home, duplex or townhouse and just pay a $350 license fee and voila! – instant motel!
We, who live here in our homes have not changed the playing field – you have.
We have not pitted neighbor against neighbor or neighborhood against neighborhood – you have. We did not agree to police our communities but you made us. We were happy in our neighborhoods and wanted them to stay as they were. It was you, the STR owners, who changed everything – not us.
We are fighting back against you. We did not throw the first punch or fire the first shot – it was you making money every night off of a home. We choose to live in ours – not make it a motel. It is easy to blame the victim instead of examining the source – the cause. Neighbors are not the cause of this issue. Neighbors did not create the problems – you did.
This sharing economy has changed so many things and not for the better. Groups of people get together to own things – group ownership of homes is now a “big-thing’ and here in Lincoln County there are many LLC’s that own STRs and not just one STR either but groups of them. THIS A BUSINESS – One that continues to destroy neighborhoods not only here in Lincoln County, but across the United States and around the world. It has made enemies of former friends. And all for what? M-O-N-E-Y!
It all comes down to profits – their profits, our sacrifice. Neighbors near STRs sacrifice sleep, peace, safety, time, and energy. STR owners and management companies say “we are letting poor people see the ocean who could never afford to do so without us,” You are not letting them stay for free. Before STR’s and VRD’s, lovely hotels and motels allowed those who cannot afford to live here full time enjoyed the vacation privilege for many decades. But out-of-town big money has changed all that.
Money. Privilege. No laws. No parameters. No boundaries. They call US, the permanent residents, the problem! WE are trying to preserve our way of life and our county. We oppose out-of-town owners who want to preserve their money-machine profits along with their noise, their crowded parking, their loud music and parties. If Lincoln County’s goal is for most of the housing stock to become STRs, then you are doing a very good job for out-of-town owners and the STR industry.
Concerned citizens can go to the internet – www.15neighborhoods.com. Read and sign our petition. You can help us protect and preserve our rural, unincorporated Lincoln County neighborhoods.
Michele Riley, unincorporated Lincoln County Resident
The views and opinions expressed in the above editorial are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of NewsLincolnCounty.com, its staff and ownership. The views and opinions of the writer(s) are strictly their own.