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.