CANNON BEACH — In an effort to rein in vacation rentals, the City Council on Tuesday night approved an ordinance to phase out unlimited permits.
Beginning Nov. 1, the city will not renew five-year unlimited permits after they expire. Lifetime unlimited permits will remain in force until revoked or terminated and they will not be replaced.
After the unlimited permits are phased out, Cannon Beach will be left with 14-day permits, which allow property owners to have two renters per month.
Cannon Beach has about 200 short-term rental permits. Fourteen-day permits make up the majority, with about 120 to 125 permits. There are about 30 to 40 five-year unlimited permits and about 45 to 50 lifetime unlimited permits.
Jeff Adams, the city’s community development director, said the rule change comes after complaints about unlimited permits.
The ordinance will also allow the city to better enforce short-term rental regulations and penalize those who don’t have a license.
Also under the new rules, property owners can have their fines deferred if they join a property management company. The reasoning behind that move, Adams said, is that rentals under property management companies tend to have fewer violations.
The city said the goal with the changes is to strike a balance between the residential and resort elements of the community.
“This is a discussion that has been elevated to the state level as a concern for a lot of people, myself included, for how short-term rentals might possibly impact the livability of their communities,” said state Rep. Tiffiny Mitchell, D-Astoria.
She said she came to see the City Council discuss what she thinks “impacts so many of our smaller communities, particularly vacation communities.”
The council unanimously voted to approve the ordinance as amended, however, the process was somewhat unusual.
Earlier in the meeting, there was not unanimous approval of the amendment. Councilor Robin Risley and Councilor Brandon Ogilvie voted against the changes, with Risley citing flaws she saw with the procedure. The councilors decided to table the motion for the next meeting.
However, later in the evening, the city attorney asked councilors to redo the motions to make sure the procedure was done correctly. When the roll was called again, Risley and Ogilvie changed their votes.
City councilors then moved to adopt the ordinance as amended.
“What I was objecting with was that we didn’t get the information for the public in time, and so I wanted to make a point of that,” Risley said afterward. “But as I saw how everyone was voting, I thought, ‘Let’s move on.’”