Tourism Supports Our Local Economy

On December 8th, 2014 the Lincoln City Council passed two new laws that restrict the rights of local property owners to rent homes to families that visit the area. We believe these laws will seriously impact all local residents and disrupt the city government’s own efforts to continue development of tourism as a source of local prosperity.

Signing the Referendum Petitions gets you the right to vote on whether or not you want these new laws.

For information or to request a public vote on the city’s new laws, visit www.tsole.org, email info@tsole.org or call +1.541.283.6465.

What Are VRDs

“VRD” stands for Vacation Rental Dwelling. VRDs are second homes that are typically owned by local families or people from nearby towns & cities. Owners pay the same property taxes that other local property owners pay. They also pay annual licensing fees, generate lodging tax revenues and purchase a variety of products and services from local businesses.

Vacation rentals are the preferred lodging option for many families when they come to enjoy Lincoln City’s unique charm. These families patronize restaurants, gift shops, grocery stores and many other businesses during their visits. Many of them come during the warmer months, but many vacation rentals host tourists for all 12 months of the year.

A large percentage of current Lincoln City full time residents came to the city originally as guests of vacation rentals. Many current city residents originally rented a 2nd home to tourists until they could afford to move to our city.

What is Ordinance 2014-22

  • Under this new law, newly licensed vacation rental homes could only be rented for 30 nights per year.
  • Existing vacation rental homes could be rented for 180 days per year, but once they were sold they would also only be rentable 30 days per year. As more and homes are sold over the years, fewer and fewer homes will have the 180 day limit.
  • Existing owners who appeal the 180 day limit and lose, would be punished for appealing. The city would take away the owner’s right to rent at all, simply because they asked for the limit to be reviewed.
  • To offset the limits, the city says “VRD Zones” would be created, where there would be no restrictions on rental days. This may be a good idea, but when citizens asked city officials to show them maps that would show where the zones would be, and how many existing vacation rentals might be included. Why did city officials ignore these requests? What happens if residents in the new zone object?

Under this ordinance it is very possible that many vacation rental homes would be restricted to renting only 30 days per year. What is the benefit to the city of having lots of vacant homes in our neighborhoods, and fewer visitors to patronizing area businesses?

What is Ordinance 2014-23

  • This new ordinance “adds criteria and standards to the VRD license provisions”. It includes a variety of sanctions that the city would impose on rental home owners who don’t comply with all of the new rules in Ordinance 2014-22.
  • It also requires the rental owner to keep a log of everyone who stays in the home. Even family members and friends of the owner would have to be logged. And the city could demand to see the log at any time. The owner could lose the right to rent as punishment for non-compliance.
  • In 2012 the city’s own police chief stated in a public meeting that these rentals are not a source of significant problems in the city.

Many citizens are mystified as to why the city has adopted a punitive approach to vacation rentals that it does not use with hotels and longer-term rental homes. They also don’t understand why no economic impact studies have been done on laws that clearly impact the city’s economic well-being. In public hearings citizens have described the new laws as “a solution in search of a problem”.

What You Need to Know


The Vacation Rental Economy is Part of Our Heritage

  • People have been coming to the Lincoln City area to vacation for over a century. Before there were decent roads to the coast, steamships would pick them up in inland towns and drop them off at the beach. Before there were hotels and motels, visitors stayed with local families, or rented cabins and other forms of short term shelter. These were the 1st “vacation rentals” in the area.
  • It is a fact that the entire coast of Lincoln City was zoned “RR” for a long time. “RR” stands for “residential/recreational”, and means that full time residences, short term lodging and other tourism activities are allowed in the zone. Some 40 years ago the zoning was changed, and now in 2014 the lack of the original zoning designation is being used as a reason to restrict vacation rental activity by city officials.
  • In 2012 city officials convened a local citizens committee called the Consensus Group to make recommendations about improving rental regulations. City officials apparently didn’t like the results – recommendations and the group’s draft ordinance were largely ignored.

Our Local Economy Depends on Year Round Tourism

  • Studies show that owners of vacation rentals hire local people to manage, furnish, clean, repair and generally improve their homes. Rental owners know they need to keep their homes in tip-top shape in order to attract more guests.
  • Did you know that many vacation rental owners and businesses spend hundreds or thousands of dollars each year advertising their homes and our city nationwide, at no cost to the city?
  • Studies also show that families who prefer to stay in vacation rentals tend to spend more money while visiting than hotel guests, and tend to be go back to the same city year after year. And while they are visiting, it is not unusual for a family to spend hundreds of dollars daily at restaurants, shops, the outlet mall, casinos and other area businesses.
  • Studies also show that when a city starts restricting the availability of vacation rentals, tourists usually don’t switch to booking rooms in local hotels — they just book a vacation rental in a more welcoming community.
  • Towns that have gone overboard with regulation of short term rentals often revise their laws to bring the tourists back. Glenwood Springs CO, Asheville NC and Ashland OR are examples of towns that have revised laws or are considering doing so.
  • Ashland, OR Councilor David Chapman says the rentals provide “a unique and valued lodging option for tourists”. Lincoln City’s current city attorney worked for the City of Ashland during the period when laws were very restrictive.
  • A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats” — we are a community. When some of us prosper, everyone benefits. When bad government regulations cause loss to some, all of us feel the effects.

Property Rights Are Protected by State and Federal Law

Locally and nationally, there are many laws and court decisions that say that government entities cannot restrict property rights or enact measures that damage property values, without cause and without a demonstrating a substantial public interest. The city council failed to demonstrate that vacation rentals have a history of causing problems, and did not do any studies on how the proposed laws would impact local property values of all taxpayers, or how the proposed laws would impact local businesses that depend on tourism.

  • Oregon’s Measure 49 protects citizens from government regulations that devalue their property.
  • Oregon’s Supreme Court decision: Yogman vs Parrott – the court decided that rights to rent a Lincoln County property as a beach house could not be denied.
  • The US 4th Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable government intrusion into their property rights.
  • The US 14th Amendment requires “equal protection”. You can’t treat some property owners differently than other property owners without legitimate cause. The city has not shown a legitimate cause.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong with the City’s New Law?

Even the proposal of the laws has already caused damage. If the laws are not stopped by voters, there will be more problems.

  • As more and more properties become restricted to renting only 30 days per year some owners will stop renting to tourists at all. The costs will outweigh any possible benefits.
  • Other owners will only rent in the summer when rental rates are higher, which means that important tourism traffic that supports jobs and businesses in the colder and rainier months will decline, when it is most needed.
  • Some homeowners have already sold their property at a loss, and this shows that the laws are affecting property values.
  • Several local real estate agents have reported in public testimony property sales that fell through, primarily due to discussions about the new laws. Others have cited how the value of local properties has been dropping because of proposed restrictions on renting homes. Others describe a real estate market that is in limbo due to actions by city officials.
  • The city is already the subject of a LUBA Appeal, concerning illegal provisions of the new laws.
  • Legal costs associated with city government’s attempt to justify the new laws could be very high.

Signing the Referendum Petitions gets you the right to vote on whether or not you want these new laws.

We are Tourism Supports Our Local Economy – a group of local family vacation rental owners, and the businesses that serve those owners and their guests. We believe that local voters should weigh in on risks and problems associated with new restrictions that city government is imposing on vacation rental property owners. We have initiated two voter referendums that will allow citizens to vote on the 2 new laws just passed by city government. For information, contact us: www.tsole.org, info@tsole.org, +1 541 283 6465.

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