Some stories just seem to twist and twist and twist in the wind. In this case, it’s the status of certain kinds of room/condo rentals in Newport – their status as to which ones need a business license to operate and under what conditions.
A joint task force thought it had finally solved the issue several months ago – but apparently not quite. Several owners of individual condo rentals at the Embarcadero Resort went to city hall to buy their business license so they could continue to operate them as short term or long term rentals. But, according to their attorney Dennis Bartoldus, when they applied for their license the clerk at Newport City Hall said they couldn’t get one until their facilities were brought up to standard – like fix the dimensions of their windows and bring “common areas” up to condominium codes. Of course such improvements would be very costly and were totally unforeseen by the owners.
So, back they went to the city council Monday night with attorney Bartoldus in tow. Bartoldus said nothing in the “new” requirements made any sense since nothing of it was mentioned during the long-term-short-term rental debates last Spring that culminated with what was widely celebrated as “the big fix.” After much back-and-forth between Bartoldus and mostly City Councilor David Allen (who is also an attorney), it was agreed that the new requirements appeared to be largely the doing of former City Manager Jim Voetberg, and whose decision the city council affirmed. It was surmised by the council Monday night that Voetberg apparently tried to reconcile the type of use the Embarcadero was changed to with the type of business license required to operate the units within it. And that meant different building standards. However, Bortoldus complained to the council that The Embarcadero’s next door neighbor, The Landing at Newport, is similarly situated, yet their condo owners were not subject to the same “administrative declaration” nor had any trouble acquiring a business license.
When it was determined that it probably comes down to an “administrative declaration” by the city manager, as to what the new standards are (or not), the declaration could likewise be nullified by the current Interim City Manager Ted Smith. Both sides seemed relieved at the possibility of having a clear way out of the dilemma, preferably at the next city council meeting later this month.