I recently read Gearhart’s ballot Measure 4-188 online, as well as letters and op-eds written by Gearhart Mayor Matt Brown (“What Gearhart repeal means,” The Daily Astorian, Sept. 22) and Mr. David Townsend (“Other side of rentals,” The Daily Astorian, Sept. 29), all addressing short-term rentals in Gearhart.
Measure 4-188 will gut laws that the city of Gearhart approved to regulate short-term rentals, after hundreds of person-hours were invested in public meetings; those short-term rental laws were planned in great detail, and debated from all sides to provide adequate safety, health and tax/revenue issues for both visitors and city residents. Those laws were a fair compromise to establish a responsible cap on the number of short-term rentals in Gearhart Residential-1 and Residential-2 zones.
In Mr. Townsend’s letter there are apparent plans to use Measure 4-188 to pocket short-term profits from his property in Gearhart, and help his friends do the same. Short shrift was given to the detail that Measure 4-188 in no way restricts anyone from renting their property for more than 30 days.
Mr. Townsend’s letter was actually an enlightening experience, because it helped me understand the definition of a “true Gearharter.” I paraphrase James Beard, Gearhart’s icon: A true Gearharter loves Gearhart simply because Gearhart is Gearhart, the jewel of the Oregon Coast. A true Gearharter would never exploit Gearhart for profit.
What was also clear in Mr Townsend’s letter was his self-centered position that the property rights mantra should protect him and his plans. My family lives in a house in a Gearhart neighborhood zoned residential R-1. Passage of Measure 4-188 would allow commercial businesses and out-of-state corporations to surround my home with motels. Where is the respect for my property rights?
Mayor Brown’s letter lifted my spirits, and showed me that he is a true Gearharter. He loves and values Gearhart for what it was, what it is and what it will continue be, only if we residents stop and reverse the commercial exploitation of our semi-rural, residential R-1 and R-2 neighborhoods.
All of my comments here are solely my personal opinion.