|County moves forward with regulations on short term rentals posted on 03/31/2023|
At a Wednesday, March 15 policy session, the Clackamas
County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) voted to move forward on a policy
proposal regarding regulation of Short Term Rentals (STRs). The only
commissioner to vote against moving forward was Chair Tootie Smith.
“This issue has been going on for many years,” said
Commissioner Mark Shull, one of the presenters of the proposal and the
commissioner who visited the Mountain community in January to attend a meeting
of the Hoodland Community Planning Organization that discussed regulating STRs.
“It is a very emotional topic. We’ve listened to all these constituents,
considered all their concerns and come up with this draft regulation.”
Commissioner Paul Savas, who worked on the proposal with
Shull and also presented it to the BCC, noted that the effort was done with
three things in mind: no impact to the county’s general fund, a reasonable
entry for STR operators and a way to address how STRs can be good neighbors in
“I think those are three essential points that are really,
really important,” Savas said.
The proposal would require STR owners and operators to
register via an online process that would include an affidavit covering a
variety of topics, including life-safety requirements, occupancy limits,
contact information and requirements such as off-street parking and garbage
pickup. Owners and operators would also have to acknowledge their
responsibility to collect and remit the Transient Lodging Tax (TLT), which is
set at six percent in the county and applies to hotels and other establishments
for stays of up to 30 days.
In his comments, Savas noted that there are approximately
639 payees of TLT within the county, with an estimate of 1,100 other operators
who do not pay.
The proposed program would create a new position with the
county, funded by revenue from the program, that would handle TLT and
registration enforcement, customer service, inter-department coordination and
Enforcement of the program would be complaint-driven, with
no inspections involved, and would work with property owners to become
compliant. The program would not require any further participation from the
county code enforcement or from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office beyond
what they do currently.
Program funding would be through a surcharge of eight
percent of the TLT for the property, and the county will explore one-time
funding from the Clackamas County Tourism Development Council, which is
expected to be up to $200,000, while also looking into if the county’s lottery
revenue allotment could be used as well.
The proposed regulations would begin with a three-year pilot
program, culminating in a report to the BCC. Savas noted the program is not
expected to be a “profit generator.”
Other board members expressed some concerns over the
proposal, including a need to clearly define what qualifies as an STR under the
program, where the startup funding will come from and the rights of property owners.
Language regarding potentially limiting the number of STRs after the completion
of the pilot program was removed from the document before its approval.
Under the timeline included in the proposal document, policy
advisors will reconcile feedback from the BCC, develop an outreach process and
work on drafting code language. Public hearings and an adoption process are
expected to take place starting in April and May.
“STRs across the nation are becoming more and more popular,”
Shull said. “This draft … is in the best interest of all our neighborhoods. We
cannot continue to have the unregulated situation we have now.”
For more information on the BCC, visit
By Garth Guibord/MT