Update: Moratorium Hearing and Task Force Planning
Dear STRACC Supporter,
The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) held a public hearing on the STR moratorium and deliberations on the STR Task Force members on January 19-20.
Moratorium STRACC’s position is the moratorium is causing more problems than it solves. In our testimony, we recommended that the moratorium be lifted and that the new code take effect on the adoption date. About two dozen individuals gave testimony highlighting the wide range of unique situations and people who had acted in good faith and are being hurt by the moratorium, and urging the BOCC to either end the moratorium or introduce some flexibility. About a dozen people spoke up in favor of keeping the moratorium in place as is, citing perceptions of STRs’ impacts on neighbors and on the long-term rental market.
After taking testimony, the three commissioners remarked that they had heard several common themes and that they would like to review written comments before making a final decision. They have scheduled their vote on extending or possibly modifying the moratorium for Tuesday, February 2 at 10:15. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/650411499 Meeting ID: 650 411 499 Task Force The BOCC deliberated at some length over the composition of the Task Force. They are trying to achieve balance in members’ positions for or against STRs, as well as the geographic balance between different parts of the county. The BOCC passed a motion approving the following people for the Task Force. For the pro-STR side, Sean Lynn, Don MacKenzie, and David Donovick, with Zelda Holgate as an alternate (a role like an alternate juror, who listens to the discussions but does not participate unless one of the Task Force members needs to be replaced). For the anti-STR side, Kirvil Skinnarland, John Agnew, and Ken Longley, with Jerry Jennings as an alternate. In addition, they approved Ed Martinez plus one more person to be named later as representatives of the Planning Commission. We understand that the BOCC had not necessarily contacted each of these individuals personally prior to voting, so there is some chance the Task Force membership could change if anyone is unable to assume this responsibility.
The BOCC closed with some discussion of the specific issues that they will charge the Task Force with addressing. It sounds like questions of grandfathering, a cap and/or distance between STRs, allowable zones for STRs, minimum lot sizes, transferability, occupancy thresholds for tiers, and the definition of Tier 1 STRs are all on the table. STRACC’s position is that the code could be also be improved considerably by simplifying some of the operating standards. Simpler code is easier to comply with and easier to enforce.
STRACC is pleased that the BOCC has included several of the people we recommended to the Task Force. Sean Lynn, too, is an experienced and well respected STR operator and has been a pragmatic voice in the code development process. We welcome his inclusion as well. Those approved to represent the other side of the debate are smart, talented, and experienced individuals who will no doubt advocate vigorously for their side’s interests. Maintaining balance in perspectives is essential to constructive dialogue, and we urge the BOCC to consider this when selecting the final Planning Commission representative on the Task Force. STRACC encourages all parties to enter this process with open minds and a willingness to find common ground. We continue to be optimistic that the Task Force will be able to make recommendations on making the code simpler and more enforceable while finding a durable way for STRs and neighbors to continue coexisting in Chelan County.