I like Matt Brown … heck we were almost business partners a couple of short years ago. I’ve spoken with him at several of the planning commission meetings since then. I pressed him as to his palpable passion around the short-term rental issue brewing then. I was a bit bewildered given his status as a small business person in Gearhart and even more confounding, that his business is golf and golf equipment. Ironically, this is a business that would seemingly benefit from guests from out of town who’d naturally include golf as a popular activity when visiting the Coast.
Why, I wondered would he propose the curtailment of vacation rentals in his own market area? His answer surprised me … he explained to my wife and me that low-income housing was disappearing and thus becoming a negative factor in recruiting candidates for the landscaping and pro shop responsibilities.
I reminded him of the lack of correlation between affordable housing and vacation rental properties. Homes that could be purchased by this wage class are rare indeed; and those homes if found would not, from a pricing perspective, lend themselves to beach rentals. But even if there were affordable housing in Gearhart (an oxymoron of sorts) why would the taxpayers be enlisted to accommodate the labor needs of a private for-profit golf course?
And now as I read this back, it leads me to wonder if I’ve overlooked the obvious … that this heavy regulation regime will lower housing costs by virtue of the depreciating effect of such owner constraint. Some of us have already learned of prospects voicing their reluctance to invest in Gearhart now because of sagging home values they fear going forward.