If Measure 4-188 passes, Gearhart will become what it was more than a hundred years ago — a destination resort town. Our comprehensive plan first written in 1978 supports and protects Gearhart as a residential community.

The most important part of the upcoming ballot measure is buried towards the bottom. “Remove current limitation on the number of Vacation Rentals” or put another way, an unlimited number of nightly short-term rentals are allowed. Every house in Gearhart could be a nightly vacation rental if this passes. Existing Ordinance 901 allows for a limited number (currently 84) of nightly rentals in residential areas. This is more than enough.

We have a high-density tourist zone in town. There are more than 200 units available for nightly rentals. That is 17 percent of Gearhart’s total housing. The number of nightly rentals is the highest amount it has ever been. We don’t need more.

Long-term rentals (more than 30 days) are still an option for homeowners in Gearhart. This remains protected by the existing ordinance. Long-term renters have always been welcome and are part of our community. Our county needs more housing. Let’s encourage this.

Last on the ballot is something that appears almost innocent. “Require public vote for the Vacation Rental Ordinance or any subsequent ordinance relating to Vacation Rentals.” Currently our city council has the ability to change the existing ordinance if needed. If passed, Measure 4-188 removes all abilities of our elected representatives to do anything at all regarding nightly rental regulation. Any changes would require yet another public vote. Each additional vote costs Gearhart about $10,000. The option of changing any provision of Measure 4-188 is virtually removed if it passes.

If this measure passes you could have a “virtual motel” next door, forever. Do you want that? I sure don’t.

Vote no on Measure 4-188.

Maggie Shumaker