Lincoln County Circuit Court hearing audio for case number 21CV46002. “The arguments Wednesday revolved around whether the measure falls under Oregon’s land-use laws and if the circuit court has jurisdiction to issue a permanent injunction against the measure” – Yachats News
We are on a long and windy legal road as our community seeks
to find balance with how homes may be used as short-term rentals in
unincorporated Lincoln County. Yesterday,
I took the day off work and spent the greater part of my day and evening acquiring
Wednesday’s two-hour circuit court hearing on audio then converting that into a
video for you.
Choosing to phase out STRs is a decision that requires policy.
Choosing to allow STRs requires policy. Ultimately,
in our community, in our society – we have rules about how humans can use their
homes as rentals. Even long-term rentals are not without many rules and regulations.
In 2016 the County launched its first licensing program (Ordinance #487). Since then, there have been many revisions to the original ordinance. My observation is that along the way STR usage grew faster than our ability (and arguably are awareness and empathy) to recognize our policy wasn’t keeping up with what residents needed. Measure 21-203 demonstrates the community taking the bull by the horns. But, again all choices have implications. Time and money are two of them.
We’ve come a long way from when owning a home was in some cases cheaper than owning a vehicle. Homes are commodities now and the implications are profound for all of us. Affordable shelter is hard to come by. My observation is that many feel eliminating STRs will help chip away at the lack of housing in this community. I think that is a reasonable assessment. I also feel that this will not solve the affordable housing problem in the big picture.
Somewhere along the way it felt like the vote for STRs became politicized, supercharged with emotion and the source of statements in ALL CAPS. Saying 21-203 “won by a landslide” and that “STRs are not affordable housing” are both studies in semantics.
If Measure 21-203 is ruled unconstitutional my recommendation is that we get more data, dig deeper into our previous ordinances and create new rules that have the nuance required to preserve the livability of neighborhoods, provide homes for families that live and work in our community, and allow the limited use of homes as shorter-term rentals.