This week, the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) held is first study workshop on the latest STR draft code. Importantly, they decided to...
1) Maintain the 5 Year "sunset" on existing STRs in RR2.5 and RV zones. Thankfully, they did not reinstate the sunset for RW (Rural Waterfront), initially questioning but eventually accepting the Planning Commission's recommendation that waterfront properties are historically recreational areas. Interestingly, Commissioners seemed uncertain which areas are actually zoned RV vs RW. In fact, Fish Lake is RV, while there is lots of RW outside Leavenworth, and in Chiwawa Pines, and Ponderosa. If you don't know your zoning, check the County Assessor Parcel Search.
2)Not allow transfer of STR rights upon sale of property. The inability to transfer your STR rights when you sell will immediately diminish our property values This along with the sunset clauses will surely open the County to c lawsuits.
3) Limit occupancy by septic permits regardless of actual septic loads, even though STRs are typically only rented on 2-3 days/week, whereas residential uses are occupied every day.
The BoCC scheduled the next workshop for Tuesday, Nov 3rd at 1pm, again via Zoom. While many big issues remain to be worked out, the public comment period is now open again until Nov 10. So please start submit your comments to CD.STRComment@CO.CHELAN.WA.US. The Commissioners have asked that we comment on specific aspects of the code and how they will impact you directly as a property owner, not on the general merits of STRs.
To be perfectly clear, STRACC's position is that ALL existing STR's should be permanently grandfathered without "sunset" clauses or restrictions on transfer of ownership. Chelan County has allowed to operate STRs legally for over 30 years. Many owners have invested their life savings based on that assumptions and paid lodging taxes for it. For the County to retroactively take away our property rights and render our businesses illegal is not only unfair but it constitutes an illegal "government taking" of private property under WA state RCW 36.70A.370. The County will certainly open up itself to several civil claims.
Once the Commissioners finish revising the code, a Public Hearing will be scheduled. They hope to pass new code before the end of the year, when the new Commissioner is seated. If you haven't voted yet, please consider supporting Tiffany Gering for Dist 3 County Commissioner in the upcoming elections. STRACC endorses Tiffany as a strong supporter of STRs and local affiliate businesses.
The Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) will resume reviewing the draft STR code Tomorrow Oct 28th at 1pm via Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/650411499. This will be study workshop so no public comment will be heard, but we'll be listening closely to see how the Commissioners respond to the Planning Commission's latest revisions:
1) Remove the 5 Year "sunset" for existing STRs in RW zones. We hope they will remove the sunset for RR2.5 and RV as well. If you don't know your land use zone, check the County Assessor Parcel Search.
2)Remove transfer of STR rights upon saleof property. The inability to transfer your STR rights when you sell will immediately diminish our property values and constitute an illegal government taking of private property under WA state RCW 36.70A.370. This will surely open the County to multiple lawsuits.
3)Enforce STR Occupancybased on septic capacity not just number of bedrooms.
Once the Commissioners finish revising the proposed code, a Public Hearing will be scheduled. They hope to pass new code before the end of the year, when the new Commissioner is seated. If you haven't voted yet, please consider supporting Tiffany Gering for Dist 3 County Commissioner in the upcoming elections. STRACC endorses Tiffany as a strong supporter of STRs and local affiliate businesses.
Update: Public Hearing on STR Moratorium and Next Steps
Dear STRACC Members,
We just wanted to send a reminder that the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) will be holding a public hearing to take public input on the temporary moratorium on STR developments that the BoCC enacted and we reported on Aug 25. The hearing will be held tomorrow (Tuesday, Oct 6th) at 10:15am via Zoom athttps://zoom.us/j/650411499. STRACC opposes this temporary moratorium and believes it should be lifted immediately while the new STR regulations are being considered. We encourage STR supporters to listen in and testify on the Zoom call tomorrow.
In other news: The Planning Commission (PC) is scheduled to continue their deliberations on the proposed STR code next Thursday, Oct 15th at 6pm. No public comment will be taken as they are still revising the code. Their previous meeting on September 23rd was somewhat disorganized with no agreement or action taken to change the code. However, we were encouraged by their discussion to remove the 5-year "sunset" on existing STRs proposed by some PC members who were previously opposed to grandfathering. We sense they are feeling the legal pressure from STRACC and other STR groups promising future "takings" claims if existing STR's are not permanently grandfathered in.
Furthermore, the Planning Commission still seems unsure about how to proceed with code revisions given the County's instructions to "ignore" the original vision statement, which our OPMA (Open Public Meetings Act) lawsuit showed was illegally-drafted by the BoCC. At various points in recent meetings, PC members have continued violating the County's instructions to disregard the vision statement by directly paraphrasing it in their deliberations, for example in comments about need "to protect the residential quality of neighborhoods." You can watch past recordings of PC Meetings here.
So, it remains unclear when the Planning Commission will finish acting on the ordinance and send it back to the BoCC for their public hearing on it. We know that Commissioner Doug England is leaving office at the end of the year, and we hope Tiffany Gering will take his place as Commissioner for District 3. Please consider supporting her campaign in the upcoming election. Tiffany is a reliable supporter of STR's and our affiliate businesses.
Finally, please also consider donating to STRACC so we can keep defending your property rights. The STRACC board serves on a strictly volunteer basis. All of your donations go to our legal expenses, minus a tiny amount of administrative expense. We can't continue this fight without you. So thank you again!!