The Planning Commission will hold its only Public Hearing on the new STR regulations this Wednesday 6/17 at 5pm via Zoom. This may be our only opportunity to speak up before they vote, so it's critically important that you register for the meeting and also submit written comments. Even if you previously sent an email, please re-submit your comments by Wednesday to make sure they get into the public record. Some helpful talking points are provided below. Now is when it really matters!
Unfortunately, opposition from groups like "RUN" (Residents United for Neighbors) is gaining momentum, as you can see in the comments thus far. They have have been collecting petitions with false claims about the illegality and negative impact of STRs to sway public opinion. They want the County to outlaw STRs outright, even existing units! This means your STR may not be "grandfathered in," putting your business at risk.
In response, STRACC will be publishing an OpEd and full-page ad in tomorrow's Wenatchee World to set the record straight about STRs. Our attorneys are also submitting legal filings to the Commission asserting that the law and the facts are on our side. Namely, STRs have been legal in Chelan County since 1991, and State Supreme court decisions since have upheld STRs as a basic residential property right. Banning STRs retroactively constitutes an illegal government taking of our assets and property values. Moreover, the Chelan County Sheriff's Office has stated on the record that STRs cause no greater nuisances than long-term residents or hotels. So why are STRs being singled out? Why won't the county enforce existing nuisance regulations before creating new ones?
The latest draft of the new STR regulations will severely limit your right to operate an STR if not ban it altogether. Here are the regulations still being considered:
Permits will be costly and revokable! Permits costing up to $1250/year can be revoked if a neighbor wants to shut you down.
Permits would not really be transferable. STR transfer rights expire after 3 years, severely lowering the resale value of your property.
Occupancy will be limited to 10 people max, including homes that can safely and comfortably sleep many more.
Existing STRs are not grandfathered in and will be subject to all new regulations, including newly required health and fire inspections.
Protect Your Property Rights!
Here are 2 important things you can do NOW to protect your businesses and property rights!
Submit Your Public Comments even if you've done it before. You can also email CD.Director@co.chelan.wa.us directly to enter your comments into the public record, but please also cc: firstname.lastname@example.org. Here are some helpful talking points:
Enforce the current codes! We simply need to enforce existing nuisance codes to address noise, garbage, and parking complaints before adding new regulations.
Demand that this process be delayed. Holding these hearings online during a pandemic limits equal access rights.
Existing STRs must be grandfathered in and exempt from new regulations which would constitute an illegal government taking.
Tell your story. If you own an STR or related business, say how these regulations will impact you and your livelihood.
Now is the Time To Make Our Voices heard!
Sign up to speak at the Public hearing and/or send in your written comments by Wednesday. We need huge numbers to drown out the opposition, so please spread the word. Forward this email to your friends and other businesses impacted by these regulations.