A wonderful aspect of small-town life is the ability to participate in local government and have input into the important decisions. It’s the closest most of us get to true participatory democracy. Gearhart set a great example with a two-year-long series of lively town meetings to work through the issues that were created when short-term rentals in residential zones were supercharged by the internet and by sales pushes from national vacation rental management companies such as Vacasa.
Our town hall process led to the passage of the existing short-term rental regulations, which were crafted with input from all viewpoints. Our regulations grandfather existing short-term rentals and impose safety and other requirements on them, yet stay true to Gearhart’s 1994 Comprehensive Land Use Plan, which requires the city to protect residential neighborhoods.
However, Ballot Measure 4-188 would require Gearhart to “Remove current limitation on the number of vacation rentals.” Worse yet, its final provision would “Require public vote for amendment of the vacation rental ordinance or any subsequent ordinance relating to vacation Rentals.” That final provision means that the only way to modify the rules in any way would be by ballot initiative.
As we are seeing, a ballot initiative is a big deal, costing Gearhart over $10,000 and a huge amount of time and attention. In a practical sense, it would become extremely difficult to make any changes to the rules. The mayor, town council, and town hall process would be hamstrung. And we can be certain that if we remove any limit on the number of vacation rentals, there will be problems and there will be needed changes!
Please vote NO on 4-188.
San Diego, California