|County considers regulating short-term rentals posted on 06/01/2019|
More than one hundred local residents attended a May 18
Clackamas County Planning Division public meeting and voiced, at times, sharply
divided opinions on allowing and regulating short-term rental property (STR) in
unincorporated Clackamas County. The meeting was hosted by the Rhododendron
Community Planning Organization at the Mt. Hood Oregon Resort in Welches.
In addition to potentially regulating properties used as
STRs, the county planning commission is considering whether to allow them
throughout unincorporated Clackamas County or limit the usage to the Mount Hood
“It’s a problem going on in our community. We’re here to
listen,” said Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas.
At the meeting Clackamas County Planning Manager Jennifer
Hughes stated that current county zoning code does not allow or disallow STRs.
She added that the county was considering implementing regulations of STRs
because of an increase in properties being used in this manner, fueled by the
growth of internet-based rental platforms. Hughes said that while the STRs
provide additional income to property owners and bolster tourism in the region,
there are concerns about their impacts on neighbors.
Some of the impacts on surrounding neighbors cited by both
the county and community members in attendance included noise, litter,
adherence to garbage pick-up schedules with bins, on-street parking and rental
occupants disregarding posted speed limits in communities.
Community members also listed examples of serious safety and
environmental concerns, such as lack of access for emergency vehicles due to
clogged on-street parking and occupants disregarding burn bans and other fire
Opinions expressed by local citizens in attendance impacted
negatively by STRs varied from calling for a complete ban of these rentals, to
implementing regulations with violations punished by a series of fines.
Concerned STR owners called for restraint from the county and urged that
regulation not punish responsible rental operators.
Many STR owners stated that their properties were only
affordable due to the rental income.
“The money that I make is what allows me to live here, to
pay my property taxes. Without the supplemental income I’d be on the rolls of
the homeless up here,” said Dale Peters, a retired Welches resident who has
lived in the community for twenty years.
Others in attendance pointed to the positive impact STRs
have on the community by fostering tourism and promoting local business.
“By shutting us down the community will be impacted,” said
Alicia Fiorito, operator of two vacation cabins in Rhododendron. She stated she
constantly promotes local restaurants and businesses through her rentals and
only utilizes local businesses for the maintenance and repair of her
Hughes stated the county realizes that rental use has been
around in the region for decades and that there are neighborhoods and
condominiums specifically developed as resort/vacation rental properties. She
noted there would be no new tax from the initiative and instead suggested a fee
paid by STR operators to cover the cost of administering and sustaining the new
Many in attendance called for the county to simply improve
the enforcement of existing ordinance regarding noise, fire code violations and
illegal parking instead of creating a broader regulatory framework.
“I don’t see these as specific issues (to STRs),” Welches
resident Hilari Kolstad said. She cited the counties lack of enforcement of
similar noise and fire code violations on her neighboring non-rental properties
as being a problem she is struggling to address. “Maybe it’s easier to have the
short-term people gone then deal with the long-term nuisance.”
The meeting was the second in a series of seven public meetings
being held across the county in May and June to present information about the
issue and seek public input.
More information regarding the proposed ban and/or
regulation of STRs is available online at www.clackamas.us/planning/str.
Clackamas County encourages public participation in an online survey available
on the site. For more information or to comment contact Senior County Planner
Martha Fritzie at 503-742-4529 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
County representatives will also discuss STRs at the Mt. Hood
Area Chamber of Commerce meeting at 8 a.m. Tuesday, June 4, at the Mt. Hood
Village RV Resort, 65000 Hwy. 26 in Welches.
By Benjamin Simpson/MT