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Editorial: Anti-Short Term Rentals organization is on the ballot…

Dear Salishan Hills owners, neighbors, friends and SHOA Board.  Myself and others in Lincoln County have been working on a county wide
problem of the proliferation of Short Term Rentals (STR’s/ vacation rentals) in the unincorporated areas of Lincoln County.

You may have seen news about this issue in your local newspapers and social media. The coalition is called 15Neighborhoods as well as 15Neighborhoods.com. This group has worked diligently on this problem with our county commissioners for over 2 years. We have, in good faith, participated in commission/community workshops over that time trying to give the Commissioners guidance, help and suggestions of well researched solutions to the out of control growth of these STR’s in our unincorporated rural neighborhoods that are zoned for single family residents, not Mini-Motels. The Commission has been inundated with letters from people who agree with our premise and letters from our opposition in the last year (if you would like to read them go to:

Short Term Rental (STR) Licensing – 2021 Workshop(s)  Lincoln County Oregon, then scroll down to supporting documents. You can also visit 15Neighborhoods.com to learn a lot more about the initiative.  The Commissioners have been extremely busy this last year dealing with the devastating wildfires in our community, COVID and Public Health issues, that they have not come up with a viable plan to  alleviate
the issues other than putting a moratorium on registering new vacation rentals. 15Neighborhoods has worked tirelessly on gathering petitions and were able to gain the number of petitions to be able to put a citizen’s initiative measure to the people in the form of Measure
21-203 on this November’s Ballot.

I am urging all SHOA owners and renters to vote YES on this measure in November 2nd.  This is the Citizens’ Initiative ballot measure supported by the 15neighborhoods Coalition to restrict Short Term Rentals (STRs) in residential unincorporated Lincoln County.  Keep LINCOLN COUNTY LIVABLE by restricting STRs to Tourist-Commercial Zones.

15neighborhoods learned much during the pandemic lock down from Lincoln County voters who sent email to 15neighborhoods@gmail.com, called us at 541-764-2658, or sent handwritten “thank you” notes with donations. By talking person-to-person with residents during the weeks of COVID Low Risk we learned invaluable understanding of the strength and depth of voter opposition to STRs in residential neighborhoods, whether in the cities or in unincorporated Lincoln County. (It came as no surprise to learn from a 2019 County report that the cities and unincorporated areas of Lincoln County reported 2,300+ licensed STRs.)  Voters cited the need for more available housing in neighborhoods, not miles and miles away from where they work.

Lack of workforce housing is devastating the Lincoln County economy.  Because outside investors have purchased single-family houses as
lucrative short-term vacation rentals, our local employers, including Samaritan Hospital, community medical providers, the Lincoln County
School District, the Oregon Coast Community College, Hatfield Marine, NOAA, Law enforcement, our Fire Districts, home health care providers, retail businesses, building trades and associated businesses, and local governments) are unable to recruit or keep employees.  We even met STR housekeepers who sleep in their cars, couch surfed, or camped because the promised bonuses of up to $1000 and a seasonal $15-$17.50 hourly wage is not a living wage in Lincoln County.

How severe is the impact upon our long-term housing stock? An ad recently appeared in the Newport News Times: Anyone willing to rent a
bedroom to a licensed and vetted professional staff is asked to contact Samaritan Hospital. (I did: Loren’s email: lmccolm@samhealth.org).

Voters also questioned whether the County’s emergency services are prepared to support large numbers of tourists in these small neighborhoods of unincorporated Lincoln County. Others focused on public health issues such as septic capacity. Are the septic systems
safe or adequate to handle significant fluctuations in usage from overcrowded tourist rentals? Almost 70% rely on septic for waste
management. The County employs one sanitarian to permit and inspect all septic systems, not just the STRs.

In addition to the above reasons, the legal reason to vote YES on Measure 21-203 is this: STRs change the character and livability of
our small, isolated neighborhoods where often renters out number full-time residents. The promise the Zoning Code made to residential
neighborhoods is broken. This is all wrong-headed. Two realtors from different firms and one property manager who asked not to be outed
publicly, told us that the situation in Lincoln County is out of control. There is too much money being made by outside investor-speculators, realtors, and property managers. Enough is enough, they said, unless we want to transition our entire economic base from year around fisheries/timber/education to seasonal hospitality.

Here is what this Ballot Measure will do for unincorporated Lincoln County when passed:

1. Reassert the right to live in non-commercial, single-family residential neighborhoods protected by zoning.
2. Restore and maintain available housing in residential zones for our working families.
3. Restore and maintain residential neighborhood integrity, character, and livability.
4. Support the environmental health and safety of Lincoln County and its residents.

Ballot Measure 21-203 applies only to single-family neighborhoods in unincorporated Lincoln County. The measure includes a 5-year phase-out of STRs, prohibits new licenses and transferability of licenses upon sale, improves septic system safety, reduces STR occupancy levels, and limits ownership to one STR.

The County Board of Commissioners continues to consider a variety of innovative options for operating standards and regulations, and better enforcement is critical. The Commissioners’ decision by November 30 will govern our quality of life as we patiently wait for the five-year phase-out to be completed. In the meantime, plan to vote YES on Ballot Measure 21-203 on November 2. You live, work, volunteer, and vote in Lincoln County. Your VOICE matters, and your VOTE is essential.

Let’s be clear: The 15neighborhoods Coalition agrees that STRs have alace in Lincoln County, but let’s be realistic. STRs are mini-motels
Lincoln County. The incorporated cities and towns have their own regulations. Your vote is very important even if you live in a city. That 
need at the hospital, or your child’s new teacher, needs a place to live in Lincoln County.  For a complete copy of the Ordinance revision proposed under this ballot measure, please follow the link: https://15Neighborhoods.com  Please visit us on Facebook too.

I would like to urge all registered voters in the county and in our HOA to Vote yes on this measure. I want to also encourage our board to
endorse this measure. You are probably thinking, well, we’re safe here in the Hills because of our CC&R’s, but make no mistake!! There are
numerous horror stories all over the US of groups of investors getting onto HOA boards and ramming through changes that could turn our
neighborhood into vacation land, with no enforcement. A prime local example is Bayshore, down in Waldport. Thanks for reading this and taking it under consideration.

Respectfully,
Julie Pearson
541-764-4415

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