Lincoln City City Manager David Hawker told his city council this week that his office has received seven applications from companies that want to help the city solve its vacation rental dwelling (VRD) headaches. For years, the council has been bombarded with complaints that Lincoln City has too many VRDs located in normally nice, quiet neighborhoods. But when weekenders fill the VRDs, many neighbors complain they party hard, long and loud, and leave lots of trash and garbage behind. They also frequently take up all nearby parking.
The city council has been grappling with what to do about it. They admit that out of hundreds of VRD’s in Lincoln City, only some of them pose problems. Those who are against more regulations want the council to knuckle down on specific violating property owners or property management firms. Those who want more regulations want the city to assume broader powers over VRD’s and how they’re run.
City Manager David Hawker, under direction from the council, advertised for proposals for a consulting firm to come in and provide a pathway toward resolving the issue. Hawker reported this week he received seven introductory proposals. City Councilor Gary Ellingson said he’d be very interested to see just how the consultants would deal with property owners, property management companies and the neighborhoods. He said he has no experience in how such a challenging mission should be carried out. City Manager David Hawker said although he knows the council wants close scrutiny over the process he and his staff should be allowed to sort through all seven and discover the ones that are obviously better than the others. City Councilor Roger Sprague said background checks and references should be a central part of the review process. “We need to know whether their former clients got what they wanted in the way they wanted,” Sprague said. “Anyone can submit glossy proposal packets, while they pat themselves on the back.”
Hawker agreed but quickly added that he would like to do the initial review and then refer his findings to the council as to which ones ought to be finalists in the contest. At that point, he said, he would also provide the council with references on each company. Hawker and the council agreed that no one wants a long drawn out process. They want to come to an agreement with all players in the VRD issue, that everyone has been heard, their opinions considered and what regulatory constraints could be reasonably placed on VRD’s.
Hawker said he expected to have preliminary information for the council sometime in January. If the council wanted that information sooner, they could plan a workshop meeting for December 26th, the day after Christmas. The council earlier eliminated their second December meeting from the calendar.