CBG

The City of Cannon Beach is in the process of reviewing its short-term rental ordinance.

As part of that review, the city wants to gather more data to find the best way to manage its short-term rental process in the future.

The Cannon Beach Planning Commission has recommended the suspension of awarding new five-year lottery permits for a period of two years as the city gathers data on the “rentals, rental violations and the fiscal impact of rentals,” as stated in a city document.

The council is set to vote on the commission’s recommendation during an Oct. 1 meeting, said Brian Olson, a partner in Beachcomber Vacation Homes Cannon Beach.

The council also plans to vote on forming a committee to analyze the data the city collects.

But some members of the business community do not support suspending the new permits. “Taking homes out of the program won’t give a real sense of how the program looks,” said Olson.

He said reducing short-term renting will affect the community’s tourist business. Most rentals require a week-long stay, but short-term rentals do not.

Olson said room taxes from all rentals - motels, hotels and short-term rent als - provide a substantial portion of the general fund revenue for the city budget.

“I estimate that over the next two years, we would lose about 22 properties in the five-year program” if the city suspends it, Olson said.

Jim Paino, executive director of the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce, said 1% of the transient lodging room tax supports the Visitors Center as well as the chamber’s “marketing effort for the community. If we remove rooms from the lodging pool, that will limit the city’s economy overall,” Paino said.

He said a moratorium on the lottery system would mean the city does not have a “baseline,” or starting point, from which to study the effects of the ordinance.

Paino said he has not heard any discussion about the city’s current data.

Cannon Beach resident Lisa Kerr said the city does have data on the lottery system. “It’s been going on for a number of years and the city has data,” Kerr said.

John Buehler, a reservationist and guest-relations official at Cannon Beach Vacations Rentals, said he thinks suspending the lottery system “would change the data they would gather” and that “the data would be faulty.”

Buehler said suspending the system could result in “unexpected circumstances.” The lottery permit helps some property owners afford to maintain their properties at a higher level, he said. Also, a suspension could penalize the city’s budget.

Kerr said the suspension would not affect the budget that much, because the homeowners could still let their properties as short-term rentals. Also, there are “not nearly as many” lottery permits as short-term rentals.

“There’s always been this tension between business and residents. But at the same time, there needs to be a balance,” she said.

Of the 11 houses on her block of residences, she said, six are short-term rentals. Living next to such a rental is “like living next to a motel with no manager.” The visitors are noisy, leave trash around and are inconsiderate, because they don’t have “any vested interest in the city.”

And visitors let their dogs “off the leash to chase rabbits in the neighborhood.”

“I never eat out here anymore (during the tourist season),” she said, “because I have to wait an hour for a table.”

Kerr added that Cannon Beach has “become almost unlivable for people who live here full time and care about the environment.”

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