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Letter to the Editor – Short Term Rentals and their impact on established neighborhoods

The Property Rights Myth

People asked to sign a petition that would put the Short Term Rental (STR) issue on the ballot this Fall often respond, “I don’t want to do anything that would limit my property rights.” And there it is… again! The catch phrase “my rights” has been at the heart of many issues, tugging at emotions, yet keeping people from taking a close look at facts.  

ORS Chapter 105 deals with Property Rights in Oregon. A quick look reveals it probably has nothing to do with the concern people have over signing a petition to get the STR problem to the voters in Lincoln County. 

Maybe it is really a zoning or land use concern. The land use process and zoning laws work together to determine how land is developed and used. Various zoning codes state the kind of development allowed. Most owners seeking relief from the growth of STRs live in residential zones (R-1, R-1-A, R-2, R-4, and RR-2) in Lincoln County. Go to www.co.lincoln.or.us/planning to take a look at the zoning maps. Many areas have already been hit hard by the growing numbers of STRs and are watching the decline of their neighborhoods: Gleneden-Lincoln Beach, Otter Rock/Beverly Beach, South Beach, Seal Rock/Bayshore, and Southwest County.  

How many owners bought lots and dwellings in these residential areas, expecting what the term “single-family dwelling” implies? How many envisioned developing friendships with neighbors, having community involvement, experiencing pride of ownership, and having stable property values? How many expected to see low-traffic flow in a residential area, being respectful of others with noise levels, and having neighbors desiring to live in harmony? Probably most of them.  

What are they getting instead in the areas hardest hit by STRs? Instead of neighbors, a rotation of renters, sometimes more than one group per week during peak season at the coast. No friendships here, and often tension. There is no working together with renters who have no interest in learning and observing HOA guidelines. Traffic increases, with renters crowding into driveways and sometimes overflowing onto the street to park. Fireworks and dog waste are frequent occurrences. No, it is not what most owners expected when they bought property in these residential-zoned areas. Don’t these owners have the “right” to fight for their dream?  

Your “property rights” are not at risk if you sign a petition to put the STR issue on the ballot. Resist the emotional pull of those words. The zoning/land use “rights” of many owners who purchased in residential zones is at stake, however. The pro-STR lobby is well financed and not looking out for the best interests of residential property owners. Check the facts, talk to your neighbors, and do not allow the fear of limiting your “property rights” to keep you from taking action. Please help us bring this issue to the voters of Lincoln County by signing the petition at www.15neighborhoods.com.

Linda Keehn,
Waldport


The opinions expressed by the above do not necessary reflect the views or opinions of contributors to NewsLincolnCounty.com.  Whether in favor of the above or against the above, feel free to address your views to NewsLincolnCounty.com.  Our E-mail is: News@NewsLincolnCounty.com 

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