Newport News-Times article: Suggested VRD ‘freeze’ thaws

The link to the article is http://www.newportnewstimes.com/v2_news_articles.php?heading=0&story_id=28506&page=72

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Open Letter to the Mayor of Lincoln City

Dear Mayor Anderson,

The Lincoln City Vacation Home Association (LCVHA), which I represent, respectfully disagrees with placement of any disclaimer on the City’s website regarding proposed changes to the VRD ordinance.

We believe there is a misunderstanding as to the value VRDs bring to Lincoln City. We are committed to providing citizens and City Council members with information necessary to ensure the right decisions are made at the Council meetings.

We are no longer experiencing the prosperity we saw in the mid-to-late 2000s. The impact of Ordinance changes that negatively impact VRDs can no longer be absorbed into this community. Real people depend on occasionally renting their home just to hold onto their properties. Many citizens depend on VRDs to keep their jobs. Additional restrictions on VRDs, including a 5-year plan to phase them out in R-1 zones, will require this Association to actively campaign in the community against such measures.

We believe simply mentioning a moratorium, a freeze, disclaimer, or any such language, will push some VRD owners into foreclosure, doing irreparable harm, and placing owners and businesses who depend on their VRD in a position to lose everything. Additionally, as we look closer into your supposed “VRD Problem”, we find you have not documented there is a significant problem. In fact, we find the number of incidents, as a percentage of overall nights spent in VRDs, is low and our initial analysis shows it might not exceed 1% of total family stays in Lincoln City over a year.

Those who claim “their” property rights are violated by VRDs are fighting to extend their rights beyond their property to their neighbor’s property; while VRD owners are simply fighting to defend their rights to use their own residential property as constitutionally defined and in doing so creating economic opportunity for this community.

The LCVHA is committed to working with the city to make sure Lincoln City’s economy does not further degrade; and VRDs are a significant portion of the local economy, bringing significant income and jobs to this city. We are prepared to defend our property rights in order to protect the city from negative effects of restrictive codes and language which this City Council is currently considering.

It is our position that your effort to place restrictive language in the VRD Ordinance and to spend $50,000+ on an arbitrator, could be better spent helping this community to understand the importance for Lincoln City to have all channels of overnight accommodation (Hotels, Motels, B&Bs and VRDs) available for our city’s main customers — tourists.

Citizens should complain, if there are problems with VRDs, to the VRD owners. VRD owners should address and resolve legitimate problems. If government is to intercede into the lives of citizens, it should do so to resolve disputes, not limit or inhibit property rights, and/or work to manipulate the market to the advantage of one group over another. Therefore, LCVHA respectfully requests no language be placed on the Lincoln City website or on any documentation regarding the City’s intention to change the VRD Ordinance.

Sincerely,

Gregory David Spehar
The President of Lincoln City Vacation Home Association
Website: http://www.lcvha.com
Office: 503-280-7021

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The “Elephant in the Room”

It looks like Lincoln City’s Planning Director, Richard Townsend’s letter to David Hawker, has led the Mayor and the City Council to institute a “complete review” of the current VRD Ordinance. A News Guard article, and over 20 user submitted postings, can be found here

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VRD Appeal on April 5th @ 6pm

Here is the Planning Department Staff Report on the Appeal:

APP-2011-02-Craggs-Appeal-Staff-Report.pdf (4MB). This report is also available on the Lincoln City Planning Commission Web Site.

Here is the text of the Notice:

ngl 11-087 NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING (Appeal)

The Lincoln City Planning and Community Development Department has received an appeal of an administrative decision as outlined below. The Lincoln City Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the appeal on Tuesday, April 5, 2011, at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at the Lincoln Square Civic Center Complex, 801 SW Highway 101, Lincoln City, Oregon.

Description of Project

The appellant appeals a decision of the planning department approving a request for vacation rental dwelling use authorization.

Project Location

The project site is located at 1645 NW 25th Street (Lincoln County Assessor’s Map 07-11-10-AA, Tax Lot 12300) in the Single-Family Residential (R-1-5) zone.

Appellant/Property Owner

The appellant is Judy L. Craggs. The property owners are Richard and Linda Schultz (File APP 2011-02, appealing approval of VRD 2010-26).

Public Hearing

The purpose of the public hearing is to consider an appeal of an administrative (staff) approval of a vacation rental dwelling use authorization. Any person who may be affected is invited to attend and participate in this hearing and present written and/or oral testimony concerning the application. The applicable criteria by which the appeal will be evaluated by the Planning Commission are Lincoln City Municipal Code Section 17.76.040, Appeals, Section 17.80.050 Vacation Rental Dwelling Criteria, and Chapter 17.16 Single-Family Residential (R-1) zone. Appeals to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) are limited to persons who have presented written and/or oral testimony at the hearing(s) before the Lincoln City Planning Commission. Failure to raise an issue at the above hearing, in person or by letter, or failure to provide sufficient specificity to allow the Planning Commission an opportunity to respond to the issue precludes an appeal to the LUBA on that issue. Unless there is a continuance, if a participant so requests, the record shall remain open for at least seven (7) days after the initial evidentiary hearing.

For More Information:A copy of the application, all documents and evidence submitted by or on behalf of the applicant and applicable criteria are available for inspection at no cost and will be provided to any person upon request at reasonable cost. A copy of the staff report will be available for inspection at no cost at least seven days prior to the hearing and will be provided to any person upon request at reasonable cost. Application materials may also be obtained in electronic format at no cost; please inquire to kated@lincolncity.org. If you have questions concerning the appeal, please contact Kate Daschel, Assistant Planner, at the Planning and Community Development Department, 801 SW Highway 101, Lincoln City, Oregon 97367, or phone (541) 996-1232. Richard Townsend, Director Planning & Community Development

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Open Letter to VRD Owners

February 25, 2011

Dear VRD Owners:

My name is Barry Rice and my family owns a beach house in Lincoln City, Oregon.
So do you.

We are among 321 Lincoln City property owners who use our homes as vacation rentals.

I am writing because that may be changing.

The problem: This year a proposal to eliminate vacation rentals in R-1 residential zones – where nearly two-thirds of vacation rentals are located — will most likely face a City Council vote. Why? The hard economy has prompted more homeowners to help cover costs by renting to vacationers. This increase in VRD’s (Vacation Rental Dwellings) has spurred some year-round Lincoln City residents to complain that their neighborhoods are becoming a “VRD haven.”

A possible solution: Form an association to make sure the city also hears our side. Our hope is that the City Council — as it prepares for a possible vote – appreciates what we also bring to the city. For example, as a group of 321 owners of 335 properties, we provided Lincoln City with more than $5.85 million in room tax payments in 2009.

Background: The city has increased pressure on Vacation Rental Dwellings. This last year for instance, our VRDs have gone from being simply permitted to licensed –we now must obtain a business license the same as motel and hotel owners who operate in commercial zones.

Where do we go from here? We’re forming an Internet-based association as a place to communicate with each other and to respond to proposals that could affect our property rights. Mr. Ross Smith II, a fellow VRD owner, already has put up the website for our new group – the Lincoln City Vacation Homeowners Association.

The need for our group is clear. Because only 21 of the 321 VRD owners are full-time Lincoln City residents, we need a way to participate more visibly with city government. We would require no physical meetings. I would suggest that our association collect modest dues (perhaps $50-$75 a year) to provide us capital to support a worthwhile community service project in Lincoln City and efforts to support VRD owners and protect our rights.

If you would like to join with fellow Lincoln City vacation homeowners in this cause, please go to our new website http://lcvha.com, and provide your name and email address. Please contact me, if you have questions or advice, at (503) 516-7698 or contact us via our website.

Sincerely,
Barry and Connie Rice

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The Lincoln City Vacation Home Association Starts

Lincoln City, Oregon has 335 homes with Vacation Rental Dwelling (VRD) licenses. There are 327 different owners. 91% of these owners live in Oregon, Washington, and California. In 2009, Lincoln City collected $45,657,304 in transit room tax of which 14% came from VRDs. The percentage of transit room tax from VRDs has gone up in each of the last three years from 10% in 2007, 12% in 2008, to 14% in 2009.  The percentage of tax coming from hotels, motels, and B&Bs, has seen a commensurate drop. I think it is just part of the economic downturn and hotel/motel occupancy will increase as the economy gets better. The newly elected city council is interested in eliminating VRDs in residential zones (R-1). 63% of vacation homes are located in residential zones. That is one of the reasons for all VRD owners to support the Lincoln City Vacation Home Association because many vacation home owners are not full time residents of Lincoln City. Only 25 VRD owners receive mail at an address in Lincoln City.

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Welcome

The Lincoln City Vacation Homeowners Association has been created to support and promote vacation rentals in Lincoln City, Oregon. If you are a vacation rental owner, or wish to support our efforts, please contact us!  Thank you for your support!

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