The Clatsop County Board of Commissioners has indefinitely postponed a vote on possible vacation rental regulations.
Commissioners held a public hearing Wednesday on an ordinance that would require property owners to apply for five-year, renewable permits based on safety inspections for an unlimited number of short-term rental properties. At the hearing, commissioners tabled the discussion in favor of a future work session to learn more about the topic.
“I think that we do need to regulate short-term rentals. However, I do have some questions about the ordinance as it’s written,” Commissioner Kathleen Sullivan said.
Sullivan’s questions included whether or not the five-year requirement is too long or if the ordinance adequately treated short-term rentals as businesses. Other commissioners agreed that they needed more time to discuss the issue before voting on it.
County staff had been discussing the issue since the summer of 2016 and have documented multiple complaints from renters since then. Commissioners have held two work sessions about the topic this year and were handed a draft of the ordinance in June.
“We’ve had work sessions and discussions about this, but if we have to go back to it, that’s what we’ll do,” County Manager Cameron Moore said.
Unlike hotels, motels and bed-and-breakfasts, short-term rentals are not regulated by the state to ensure renters’ health and safety. Regulations would include requirements for owners to comply with quiet hours, provide covered garbage containers and possess at least one fire extinguisher. They also could set maximum occupancy at three people per sleeping area plus two more at a rental.
Regulations would not cap the number of days a particular unit can be rented out, a major difference from ordinances in some cities. The ordinance would not apply to Arch Cape, which has had regulations in place since 2004, or any properties within the county’s five cities.
County estimates reveal the ordinance would impact at least 173 property owners. The figure is nearly double the estimate in 2010 of the number of properties available to rent for up to 30 days.