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.