County approves short-term rental ordinance

PUBLISHED: June 24, 2022

The Board of Commissioners responded to community concerns about short-term rentals by passing an ordinance officially recognizing them as an approved use in 16 areas of unincorporated Clatsop County. The board also directed staff to develop a process and timeline to assess a potential cap on the number of short-term rental units allowed in various areas of unincorporated Clatsop County.

“We spent time listening to various concerns and perspectives and we thank everyone for their involvement. We are now entering the next phase of assessing where and how caps on short-term rentals could be applied in certain areas,” Clatsop County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mark Kujala said.

Short-term vacation rentals — defined as allowing no more than 30 days per stay — have been permitted for many years across the county.

In April, commissioners approved revisions to the STR licensing program that shortened the licensing period from five to two years, created a tiered complaints and penalty system, and made other revisions.

In 2018, Council approved an order establishing operating standards for short-term rentals outside Arch Cape, covering health and safety standards, occupancy limits, parking rules and other areas, but did not change the zoning code to identify where short-term rentals could be located.

In 2020, county code compliance staff began holding quarterly town hall meetings to address concerns and complaints about short-term rentals. Based on input from the meetings, county staff began work on proposed revisions to the STR operating standards, and the Board held three town halls in late 2021 and early 2022 to gather further input. After further discussion, the Board directed staff to draft ordinances updating operating standards and amending the county’s Land and Water Use and Development Code to list STRs in most areas. residential and commercial.

As part of the review process, the Board also voted in August 2021 to place a moratorium on new STR licenses. The moratorium has been extended twice and is currently in effect until August 26, 2022. As the Board considers the imposition of caps, the Board may choose to further extend the moratorium. Staff will present the proposed timeline and process in a working session on Wednesday August 3rd.

Owners and operators of short-term rentals in the unincorporated county are required to obtain permits through a multi-step process that includes reviews and approvals by county planning and public health offices and inspections in person by building code personnel.

STR operators must also pay the county transient room tax.

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