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Facts Matter: An editorial by Elaine Starmer of Lincoln City

The views and opinions of the following by Elaine Starmer of Lincoln City are not necessarily the views and opinions of NewsLincolnCounty.com and their staff.  The views and opinions contained by the writer are strictly those of Elaine Starmer of Lincoln City.

Facts Matter

We have a choice to be informed by verifiable, legal facts, or succumb to fear-mongering, misrepresentation and lies.  The phrase, “Follow the Money”, has never been more appropriate.  $300,000 has been raised by two PAC’s in an effort to blind you to the facts about Measure 21-203.  ($200,000 was from Meredith Lodging.) They even succeeded in blinding some of our own Lincoln County Commissioners into thinking 21-203 will bankrupt the County due to “taking” lawsuits.  Let’s look at some documented facts around “taking” litigation.  Cope v Cannon Beach went all the way to the Oregon Supreme Count.  The entire document is lengthy and references multiple previous cases.  Cannon Beach prevailed in this lawsuit, as have many other cities across the US with similar “taking” lawsuits.  “Taking” lawsuits are difficult to prove but are great targets for fear-mongering.

The Oregon Supreme Court held the following:

“The effect of laws reducing rental income has been held by the Supreme Court of the United States to be no taking, even when combined with other laws interfering with an owner’s unfettered use of property. Yee v. City of Escondido, CA.”

“We next consider whether Ordinance 92-1, by prohibiting transient occupancy, denies property owners economically viable use of their properties. See Agins v. Tiburon, supra, 447 U.S. at 260, 100 S. Ct. at 2141 (stating second part of test). We conclude that it does not. On its face, Ordinance 92-1 permits rentals of dwellings for periods of 14 days or more. The ordinance also permits the owners *1087 themselves to reside in the dwellings. Ordinance 92-1 substantially advances legitimate governmental interests, and it does not deny property owners economically viable use of their properties.

“Petitioners argue that, because “[t]he right to continue an existing legal use is a property right,” removal of that existing use is a taking without regard to other economically viable uses. Petitioners’ focus is too narrow. In Keystone Bituminous Coal Assn. v. DeBenedictis, supra,  the Supreme Court of the United States held that the “test for regulatory taking requires us to compare the value that has been taken from the property with the value that remains in the property.” The Court went on to note that, “`where an owner possesses a full “bundle” of property rights, the destruction of one “strand” of the bundle is not a taking because the aggregate must be viewed in its entirety.'”

Folks, the sky will not fall and Lincoln County will not go broke when Measure 21-203 is voted in.  There simply is NO DATA to back up those claims, but there is an insane amount of money being spent to make you believe them.  The same goes for claiming the lost transient room tax will break the county.  No it won’t.  Tourists will still come, the county will adapt to new ways of accommodating them, just like all the other cities that have had the courage to deal with this situation.  Guess what, those tourist driven cities are still thriving, and that is a FACT. 

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