Open Letter to the Lincoln County Commissioners from 15Neighborhoods
Law is rarely black or white, and the Board of Commissioners has a lot of discretion about how it chooses to “defend” Ballot Measure 21-203. Your obligation to your constituents is to know all of your options, including the pros and cons of each.
County Counsel’s role is to help you make the best policy decision. Counsel should give you the applicable law, be it state statute or regulation, county ordinance, or court decision(s). You should consider the legal options as you deliberate and set public policy. You are the policy decision makers, not Counsel.
You hired outside counsel for the litigation challenging Ballot Measure 21-203 (and Ordinance 523) because he specializes in advising local government in land use law. We hope you consult with him directly, not only through County Counsel, so none of his advice gets lost in translation, as can easily happen.
The goal of 15neighborhods since Ballot Measure 21-203 became the “Law of the Land,” has been the prompt implementation of its critical elements. We assumed you would oppose the STR Investors’ Motion to Stay (prevent) implementation 0f 21-203 pending the completion of litigation, which could take years. Instead, you agreed to “not oppose” STR Investors’ request for a stay.
Six months after voters passed 21-203, there has been no indication that the County has taken any steps toward (1) integrating Ballot Measure 21-203 with Ordinances 487 or 523, or (2) developing written policies and procedures for implementing 21-203. Although it is not an immediate priority, has any thought been given to implementing the five-year phase-out by November 19, 2026?
After six months, it is reasonable to expect the Sheriff has written policies and procedures to implement Ballot Measure 21-203. It may be time to ask the Sheriff: Is your office ready to implement the critical elements of Measure 21-203, including (1) not issuing business licenses to new STRs, (2) reducing occupancy, (3) preventing the transfer of licenses upon sale, (4) restricting licenses to one license per licensee, (5) requiring an existing septic evaluation report (ESER)? If not, what resources do you need to do this?
Monica Kirk, Steering Committee
Unincorporated Lincoln County