Mention vacation rentals in some Long Beach Peninsula neighborhoods and youre likely to get a strong reaction maybe an unpleasant reaction.
But love them or hate them, theyre here to stay.
That doesnt bother David Campiche and Laurie Anderson, the husband and wife owners of The Shelburne Inn as long as theyre run as legitimate businesses.
Its the people who rent out their vacation homes without paying taxes or having a business license that put legitimate inns on an uneven playing field, Anderson said.
She is concerned that a lot of people purchased second homes during the housing bubble and now find themselves forced to rent them out to pay the mortgage. Whether theyre doing it legally or not is the question.
Campiche supports regulations for vacation rentals.
Neighborhoods have rights, he said. People have invested their money, bought a nice house in a nice neighborhood and paid extra money for a nice neighborhood and suddenly theres a commercial zone around them. And when you want to call somebody when theres trouble, who do you call?
The City of Cannon Beach addresses this and other vacation rental issues in its municipal code.
Brian Olson, general manager of Cannon Beach Vacation Rentals, said the city requires a local contact. Olson said an after-hours phone number is on the companys 85 rentals, but he takes it a step further and gives his cell phone number to the neighbors.
I want them to call me, not the police, he said. We want to take as good of care as the neighbors as we do the guests and the homeowners.
Cannon Beach sets limits on the number of cars that can park at a rental. Each unit must be inspected and licensed, Olson said.
The When & Where
Cannon Beach also sets limits on when vacation homes can be rented. Vacation homes in business when the ordinance was passed can rent whenever they want, Olson said. Others can only have one reservation every 14 days. Another license granted under a lottery system allows new rentals to rent at will.
The City of Long Beach allows rentals at will, but has specific zoning for vacation rentals.
Long Beach Community Development Director Gayle Borchard said the system makes it simple to determine where the homes are allowed. The city has a map for prospective landlords showing where vacation rentals are allowed outright, allowed with a conditional use permit and not allowed at all.
Like Cannon Beachs Olson, Pat McLean, manager at Pacific Property Management in Long Beach, says professionally managed vacation rentals are the way to go.
We handle the cleaning crew, the reservations, the maintenance, the whole enchilada, she said. Were in and out of them all the time.
That allows the company to stay ahead of problems, and thats good for homeowners and renters, she said.
Pacific collects the lodging taxes, state business and occupation taxes and even takes care of the business license if owner chooses to sign a contract with Pacific, McLean said.
Bloomer Estates manages vacation rentals ranging from the Bloomer Mansion in Seaview to a property on 292nd. CEO and President Kathy Mullen said the company also offers cleaning, maintenance and booking to its property owners.
Pacific keeps somebody on call 24 hours a day, although McLean says its been four or five years since shes had to ask somebody to leave, and that was for having too many people than allowed in that particular rental.
Mullen said Bloomers guests tend to be an older crowd that has planned far ahead.
Its planned vacations and different facets of the party coming from all over the country, she said.
She maintains a good rapport with the neighbors. Thats a good thing. If theres a complaint, shes the one who gets the phone call at 3 a.m. Mullen has never had to ask any of her guests to leave.
My biggest problem is if (guests) cant work the lockbox, she said. Our goal is to make this a pleasant adventure for them and as painless as possible for the neighbors.
Borchard said Long Beach has no problems with vacation rentals. The industry does an excellent job of policing itself, she said.
Unlicensed & Unwelcome
McLean said the concern in Seaview over vacation rentals focused primarily on unlicensed units. They all lived somewhere else, she said. I dont know who they had looking after them.
Mullen echoes Campiches distaste for unlicensed vacation rentals.
Theyre not able to be taxed, like they should be. They hurt us honest management companies, because we have to go by the rules, she said. I think (authorities would) be better off trying to police the illegals.
Peninsula resident Lynda Davis understands why neighbors might object to the constantly changing crowds and the parking issues that come with vacation rentals, but she still supports them.
Why wouldnt we want it? Its what we have! she said. Its what feeds our community. They eat in our restaurants, shop in our stores. Those people arent going to come down and do all those things if they dont have a place to stay.
Working families are tied to tourism, she said, and that includes people who stay in vacation rentals.
Davis said the rentals are an integral part of the cycle of the Peninsula, just like the motels, go-carts and kites. They flourish during the summer and fade during the winter. How well they do during the summer is critical to their survival in the winter, she said.
Half these people complaining about (rentals) go to Arizona for the winter, and they come back in the summers, so their lives are not connected to the cycle, she said. They have a whole different set of values and needs, and it doesnt affect their lives until they cant get down main street because of all the tourists. Well, those tourists are spending their money in your bakery or in your Castaway Restaurant and your LBT Tavern, and those people arent complaining about it.