It's been an eventful week in the STR debate, and we have some important updates to share with all of you…
First of all, a BIG THANK YOU to those of you who attended last Wednesday’s (7/24) Public Hearing on the draft STR code being considered by the County Planning Commission. Over 200 people attended, with a solid majority supporting STRs and at least 60 of you wearing our bright yellow T-shirts. Such a great turnout by STRACC supporters certainly got the Planning Commission’s attention.
Prior to the hearing, our excellent attorneys Sam Rodabaugh and Michelle Green had submitted to the County a powerful and compelling 9-page legal letter detailing our principles and legal arguments. Michelle represented STRACC at the hearing, succinctly summarizing our position in 15 minutes, and very effectively putting the County on notice about several “legal infirmities” in their code process and proposals. We certainly got the Planning Commission’s attention that STRACC is not only strong in numbers and united, but also serious, committed and prepared for a legal battle. We encourage you to read our full legal letter to the County. Another attorney also spoke for 5 minutes about the adverse environmental impact that would be caused by these new regulations.
Many STRACC members and supporters also had an opportunity to speak at the Public Hearing. So many in fact that the Commission agreed to a second public hearing on August 28. We encourage you to put that date on your calendar and attend, especially if you didn’t get a chance to attend or speak at the first meeting.
Since the Public Hearing last week, there’s been a good amount of media coverage including a Wenatchee World article about the hearing. KPQ Radio also played a conversation with CCCD Director Kuhl, at least 4 times today. You can read the summary article on the KPQ website. The procedural due process argument was likely the strongest legal argument that we presented, so it’s not a surprise that it caught the County’s attention! Kuhl’s statement that all STRs are currently illegal, and that the new ordinance would do nothing more than make them legal, is totally unfounded and ridiculous. We’re currently drafting a response.
Overall, it’s been a very exciting week for STRACC and STR supporters. We are encouraged by the fact that we are finally getting the County’s attention and putting them on notice. The County can no longer ignore us and would look foolish proceeding without addressing our numerous concerns with their unlawful process and unjustified regulations.
As much progress as we made this past week, we are still near the beginning of what could be a prolonged and costly legal battle. Please JOIN STRACC AND DONATE to our legal defense fund. We can't do this alone.
STRACC Executive Board
The Chelan County Planning Commission and Department of Community Development will be holding a public hearing in regards to code development for the management of short term/vacation rentals. Please plan on attending and adding your voice when the floor is opened for public comment. Each person will have a 2 to 3 minutes to speak.
When: Wednesday, JULY 24th, 2019, 7-8pm
Where: Confluence Technology Center
285 Technology Center Way
Wenatchee, WA 98801
We will have several extra yellow "I SUPPORT SHORT-TERM RENTALS" t-shirts if you don't already have one. Please also forward this email and encourage others to attend, including other owners, house cleaners and other maintenance staff. We may not get another chance to speak before the expected vote in early August. We need as many people as possible to attend as a strong show of support and unified voice in this fight.
Unfortunately, the news is not good. To put it plainly, the STR industry is under attack in Chelan County. Last week, we learned about a line item tucked into the County's 2019 budget planning to raise an additional $750,000 from STRs. If permits and new codes are passed, this NEW revenue stream will make up 24% of the CCCD budget. This is clearly a money grab.
The Planning Commission is moving ahead with unjustified and unlawful new code regulations, including:
It has become clear that we'll need to mount a legal defense as well as engaging the political process. To defend the right of property owners to rent their homes without undue burdens and regulatory overreach, we are pleased to announce that we have hired Samuel A. Rodabaugh PLLC of Bellevue, and Michelle Green of Wenatchee, two highly-respected property rights attorneys. More information about our legal strategy will follow, but we plan to oppose all new STR regulations. The main "complaint" issues - parking, trash and noise - are already managed by existing nuisance ordinances, which should be enforced equally. Per Supreme Court decision, STRs, long-term rental and a primary residence are all seen and treated equally. Therefore, County Commissioners do not have the authority to regulate STRs differently.
Make Your Donations Now
Mounting a legal defense will require considerable financial resources to prepare for the July 24 Planning Commission hearing and vote. So we are asking STRACC members to step up and make their donations ASAP. Our suggested donation is now $500 or more to cover our expected legal costs this year. Any amount will help, but please give what you can. The future of our property rights and of each of our property investments depends on this legal defense. Thankfully, we're now able to accept online donations on our JOIN/DONATE page, or simply click the button below.
Please Join STRACC in this fight to protect your property rights!
Together, we can defend our rights as property and business owners and be recognized as important contributors to our community. Please also forward this email to anyone else who might be impacted.
"The 2018 legislation season brought the vacation rental industry some high highs, low lows, and everything in between. Cities that had been embattled for years made big moves, communities issued bigger petitions and bigger votes, and they all made one thing clear: the war is not lost, and the battle is only heating up."...
Heads up! The Chelan County Planning Commission will be meeting TOMORROW JUNE 26 to review the draft STR code changes that are being proposed by Community Development office. While STRACC will not get to speak at this meeting, we will be submitting a letter in response to the code changes.
When: Wednesday, June 26th, 2019, 7-8pm
Where: Chelan County Comissioners
400 Douglas St # 201, Wenatchee, WA 98801
Please consider attending to show your support for STRACC... and wear your yellow T-Shirts!
On June 18th a second public workshop was held at the Confluence Technology Center. About 40 people attended the workshop of which about 10 were wearing bright yellow shirts in support of STR's. There were many others in the room that supported STR's which was great. Basically Community Development presented draft code changes to the commissioners and the commissioners made initial changes and recommendations. Please review the draft code changes.
Proposed STR Code Change Public Workshop
When: 6/18/2019 Tuesday 1:00PM-2:30PM
Where: Confluence Technology Center
285 Technology Center Way, Wenatchee WA 98801
Agenda: This is the second public workshop event that the public can witness the ongoing discussions concerning regulating vacation rentals. No public testimony is allowed at this meeting. Our numbers and presence are making and difference the commissioners are hearing us and we need your presence to keep the pressure up. If you already have a bright yellow shirt that you have received please wear that. We will have a box of shirts available for folks needing some at the door.
STRACC Membership Meeting
When: 6/22/19 Saturday 10AM
Where: Leavenworth Senior Center (Note: Change of venue!)
423 Evans Street, Leavenworth WA 98826
Agenda: We will be electing our permanent board members for the next 2 years and your vote is needed. New members can be accepted upon arrival. We will be updating on the recent activities of Community Development and the proposed code change process. We will be discussing STRACC future plans and strategies to resist the current path towards restrictive regulations on STR's.
Your voice and opinions are important! STRACC has grown to over 50 members representing over 600 properties. That is truly impressive and we are making a difference. A special shout out to those in the Chelan area, we could really use more members representing your area. Please forward this email on to all who might want to join or are interested in reserving the right to rent out a property without restrictive regulations.
We look forward to seeing you!
STRACC's very own Sean Lynn and Zelda Holgate were interviewed on the The Agenda 660 KPQ Newsradio program the Agenda this afternoon. You can listen here: www.kpq.com/the-agenda/. Their segment starts 16 minutes into the program.
The Chelan County Commissioners, along with the Department of Community Development, invite you to a public forum. Commissioners and Staff will be discussing the next steps in moving forward with the management of Short Term/Vacation Rentals.
When: June 4, 2019 3:00-5:00 PM
Confluence Technology Center
285 Technology Center Way
Wenatchee, WA 98801
Read More: https://www.co.chelan.wa.us/notifications/article/public-meeting-short-termvacation-rentals
HB 1798 establishes new requirements for those who operate short-term rentals and platforms that advertise these rentals, including consumer safety and liability insurance. The bill also subjects short-term rentals to the taxes, fees, and assessments paid by a hotel or bed and breakfast in the same jurisdiction – including occupancy, sales, and lodging taxes. To read the full text go to https://legiscan.com/WA/text/HB1798/2019