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Editorial from 15Neighborhoods

YES on 21-203 from 15Neighborhoods

 

Will Measure 21-203 ban all Short Term Rentals (STRs)?  Answer: NO – Only STRs located in residential neighborhoods located outside city limits will be phased out over the next 5 years.

Will this measure eliminate STRs in Lincoln County? Lincoln County will continue to have a thriving STR industry, supporting tourism. 21-203 only applies to STRs in rural areas that are not zoned or prepared for commercial activity.

Are claimed economic benefits of STRs real? Pro-STR industry monetary impact claims are for the cities of Lincoln County, not areas outside the cities. This small number of STRs are mostly existing homes, of which 70% use septic systems to treat wastewater.

How will the county replace lost tax revenue? Travelers will still come and stay in motels, hotels, and private homes as they have for more than a century. Restaurants and bars will see increased business since short-term renters often arrive with boxes of food and beverages. The phase-out of existing STRs in residential zones outside the cities won’t occur for 5 years. Existing and new STRs will continue to operate in the tourist-commercial zones.

Will property taxes go up to replace revenue? By Oregon law, 70% of Transient Lodging Tax (TLT) goes to tourism promotion, not to county services and programs. Our property taxes, not TLT, fund fire departments, schools, health programs, and county government.

Will this destroy our tourism economy? Again, the 525-530 STRs in unincorporated Lincoln County are a small slice of our tourism industry, but they have outsized negative impacts on our residential neighborhoods.

Will this hurt working families? We believe it will help working families and strengthen our community. The growth of STRs is a big factor in the housing crisis on the Coast. Inflated prices and a shortage of homes for families to live in threaten our community. In addition, hospitals, schools, and other employers struggle to find and keep employees; housing is the issue! The STR debate is not politically partisan. It is about building thriving, sustainable communities with schools for families, living wage jobs for workers, and services for the disabled and elderly.

What is the impact on the Lincoln County School District? As long-term housing becomes less accessible, more and more families leave the District. This loss affects the District’s “federal per pupil funding”, critical for schools to survive. Lincoln County has not closed schools, yet on August 20, 2021, the District was seeking 59 school staff. New teachers cannot find affordable housing. Existing teachers lose their long-term rental housing as their homes became STRs.

Tourists do not need our homes to enjoy the Coast, but we need housing to keep our schools.

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