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Letter: Keep Gearhart residential

Jeanne Mark re Gearhart short-term rentals

Published on September 29, 2017 12:01AM

David Townsend, out-of-state political strategist and owner of a vacation rental in Gearhart, is a supporter of Measure 4-188 which will appear on November’s ballot. If approved, this measure would repeal and replace Gearhart’s law limiting and regulating short-term rentals. This measure would allow all homes in Gearhart to be converted into transient rentals. Think about it. Short-term rentals could take over our entire community.

The repeal and replace measure would satisfy the vacation rental agencies like Vacasa, securing them more units in Gearhart. Townsend’s agent, Oregon Beach Vacations, has contributed $4,000 to his war chest for Measure 4-188, according to the Oregon Secretary of State. More rentals mean more money for these agencies and absentee landlords.

Short-term (less than 30 days) rentals are a commercial activity not permitted in Gearhart’s single-family residential zones, but they are grandfathered by law pending eventual sale of the rental properties, which then revert to much-needed permanent residences following existing Ordinance 901. Ordinance 901 also does double duty as a solution to the existing (permanent) housing crisis.

In Gearhart, properties in a residential zone cannot be used for commercial purposes. Transient rentals such as short-term vacation houses are commercial uses, therefore illegal. Those who buy property zoned residential are entitled to expect their neighborhood will remain residential, not to become commercial hotel-like zones.

The existing Gearhart law that regulates and limits short-term rentals has been upheld by Oregon’s Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). This validates the city’s right and obligation to follow its Comprehensive Plan (1994, p. 1), to wit: “The City will recognize the importance of the City’s residential neighborhoods and the need to protect them from the negative impacts of transient rental property, and to discourage increased levels of traffic and similar disruptions.”

Help protect our property values and our neighborhoods from proposed unlimited short-term rentals. Vote no on Measure 4-188. Keep Gearhart residential.

Jeanne Mark



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