10/24/2017 12:56:00 PM City taking a look at vacation rentals
By Sue Stafford
The City of Sisters, like many cities across Oregon, is taking a hard look at regulation of vacation rentals.
The discussion on vacation rentals by the Planning Commission continued at their October 19 workshop, after they received a map prepared by City staff on which all 41 vacation rental properties were marked.
Of those 41 vacation rentals, 14 permits have been issued in 2017, giving rise to the concern on the part of the City Council about addressing regulations for vacation rentals before a problem develops. A majority of the permits are for properties located in Pine Meadow Village and in the Davidson Addition south of Washington Avenue.
There was discussion as to why the increased number of vacation rentals is of concern, including the impact of the transient nature of vacation rentals on the character and quality of life in neighborhoods of full-time residents and the impact on available housing when rental units and single-family homes are converted to vacation rentals.
According to the transient room tax collected on vacation rentals, 46 percent of the nights units were made available to rent, they were occupied. There are currently 12 inactive TRT accounts. The number of nights rented covers a spread from 25 percent to 75 percent of nights available.
The Planning Commission is considering various methods to address the quality-of-life concerns.
Caps on the number of vacation-rental units citywide, or a certain percentage of all residential units is one option. The spacing between units is another method. In Bend, they have adopted 250 feet between rental units so that an entire street doesn't become dominated by vacation rentals.
There could be limits placed on the duration of vacation-rental permits. There is also the question as to whether a permit runs with the owner or the land. The Planning Commission is inclined to favor the permit following the owner, meaning if the property is sold, the vacation-rental permit is no longer valid and the new owner would have to reapply.
Regulations on private property can be a difficult matter, and that is why the Planning Commission is being deliberate in its considerations before making recommendations to the City Council. There will be a public hearing on the matter before any regulations are adopted.