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County commissioners aim to repeal short term rental program posted on 06/01/2022

The Clackamas Board of County Commissioners (BCC) began the process of repealing county code that would establish a short-term rental (STR) registration program and business regulations for short-term rentals in unincorporated Clackamas County at a May 10 meeting.

The repeal of the county code will not impact the zoning and development ordinance (ZDO) that allow STRs in the county.

The county code regarding the registration program and business regulations has not been enforced since the program was established in July of 2021 due to the BCC delaying implementing a registration fee for the program necessary to fund the two full-time county employees needed to run the program.

“It became clear that this current board was not interested in implementing the fee,” Assistant County Counsel Nate Boderman said.

The BCC voted to delay implementing action on establishing the fees needed to run the program until May 2022. At a May 4 policy session, the board voted to once again delay action until 2023.

Then, at a May 10 policy issue meeting the board approved County Counsel Stephen Madkour’s recommendation to proceed with the process to repeal the portion of county code, Section 8.10, that establishes the registration and business regulations for STRs.

Counsel recommended a repeal because the program has not been funded and as a result the regulatory components are not being enforced.

“I wasn’t crazy about having regulations on the books that weren’t going to be enforced,” Boderman said.

In addition to striking down the registration fee, STR owners will not be required to register with the county or provide information regarding contact in case of complaints, proof of insurance, or an affidavit of compliance with safety standards. STRs will also not be subject to requirements for maximum occupancy, off-street parking, garbage pick-up and noise and safety requirements not covered under existing county ordinance.

The work completed since spring of 2019 by county staff establishing a registration program and regulations will remain eligible to be adopted at a future date by the BCC.

Repeal of the registration and business regulations will not affect zoning ordinance or whether STR owners will be subject to the required county transient lodging tax and the state transient lodging tax.

The ZDO that clarifies that STRs are allowed in unincorporated portions of the county is currently on hold pending an appeal with the state. The challenge to the ordinance does not impact the mountain communities “based on the nature of the challenge stating there is no separate use in a resource zone,” Boderman said.

Repeal of county ordinances requires two public hearings to be held at least 13 days apart, at which time citizens are invited to provide testimony on the proposed repeal. A date for the first public hearing has not been set. Boderman anticipates the first public hearing will be scheduled for mid to late June.

“(The hearings) are an opportunity for anyone interested in the topic to address it directly with the board,” Boderman said.

More information is available online including: the staff report and video of the May 4 Policy Session: https://www.clackamas.us/meetings/bcc/presentation/2022-05-04-0, staff documents and video for the May 10 Issues Session: https://www.clackamas.us/meetings/bcc/issues/2022-05-10, and background information about the project: https://www.clackamas.us/planning/str.

By Ben Simpson/MT





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