Vote “yes” on ballot Measure 4-188 to reasonably regulate Gearhart vacation rentals. Contrary to representations made by Gearhart citizens, and even its mayor, vacation rentals will still be regulated for safety issues and septic issues under Measure 4-188. The measure requires home inspections by licensed home inspectors. Licensing is regulated by the state of Oregon. Ballot Measure 4-188 simply allows the vacation rental applicant to choose a licensed home inspector. Additionally, Gearhart didn’t get over-run with vacation rentals in the first 100 years of unregulated vacation rentals, and it won’t in the second 100 years.
The city, with all its lengthy research at taxpayer expense, during 2015-2016 didn’t identify any more rentals than eventually applied for permits by the October 2016 deadline — only 84 out of 1,600 homes.
Over-restrictive vacation rental ordinances will force rental homeowners underground. Many cities along the Oregon coast, across Oregon and the U.S. regulate vacation rentals, even Las Vegas — a city from which some very new Gearhart citizens fled, allegedly due to vacation rentals.
At the public hearings on the City Council’s ordinance, experts in the vacation rental business testified that in locations where ordinances are too restrictive, homeowners needing or desiring to rent on a short-term basis go underground. An unintended consequence of the City Council’s ordinance is just this: unpermitted, uninspected and possibly unsafe homes.
Ordinances are only as good as the ability to enforce them. The city has failed to regularly and consistently enforce its existing ordinances regulating garbage, septic, parking and appearance of properties, and now its increasing its responsibility to regulate an ordinance that is misguided and over-reaches. Measure 4-188 will be more manageable, requiring enforcement of existing ordinances and adding enough additional regulation to preserve homeowners’ rights and balance the interest in public safety.
I helped draft ballot Measure 4-188, and I’d be delighted to talk with anyone to go over a line-by-line comparison of the city’s ordinance and Measure 4-188. Make the best choice for Gearhart by voting in favor of Measure 4-188.