For the past 30 years, the slow pace, friendly neighbors and quiet neighborhoods of Gearhart have been my refuge after a hard day’s work. It’s not a tourist destination; it’s our home town. But its very existence as such is now threatened by the Internet-fueled short-term rental business and by Measure 4-188, which would overturn the city’s comprehensive plan, zoning ordinance and laws that protect residential neighborhoods from the high-impact commercial activity of vacation rentals.
As a planning commissioner and city councilor for many years, I’ve witnessed the growth of the problem and the city’s solution to it, worked out over a two-year process of citizen involvement, testimony and deliberation. The resulting Ordinance 901 was a fair compromise for all competing interests, and is now affording our citizens protection from moneyed interests that would obliterate the character of Gearhart. It is founded on the principles of Gearhart’s comprehensive land use plan as adopted in 1994, which requires the city to “recognize the importance of the City’s residential neighborhoods and the need to protect them from the negative impacts of the transient rental of property, and to discourage increased levels of traffic and similar disruptions;” (document found at www.cityofgearhart.com).
I implore my fellow Gearhart voters to vote no on Measure 4-188. A yes vote would threaten every Gearhart citizen’s quality of life.