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home : business : business May 26, 2018

4/24/2018 6:25:00 PM
Changes coming for short-term rentals
By Sue Stafford

Major changes are on the table in the way Sisters treats short-term rentals.

The Planning Commission held their final review of the proposed Short-Term Rental (STR) regulations at their April 18 workshop. The changes to the former Vacation Rental Development Code are comprehensive and extensive in scope. Commissioners indicated that, despite testimony against short-term rentals at the last City Council meeting, the Planning Commission has received no direction from the City Council to modify the draft proposal.

Section 2.15.2700 of the City Development Code relates to STRs, previously referred to as Vacation Rentals. "The purpose of this section is to protect the character of the city's residential neighborhoods by limiting and regulating short-term rental of dwelling units," according to the new Special Provisions chapter.

If adopted by the City Council, certain provisions will apply to all STRs, which are defined as "the use of a dwelling unit or any portion of a dwelling unit by any person or group of persons entitled to occupy for rent for a period of less than 30 consecutive days." This doesn't include bed and breakfast inns, hotels, and motels.

Owners of STR properties will need to apply for an STR permit as well as an STR operating license. A permit will be required for each dwelling unit even if located on the same legal lot.

STRs are allowed in residential, multi-family residential, downtown commercial, highway commercial, urban area reserve (UAR), and Sun Ranch residential districts.

STRs within residential zoning districts would be limited to a maximum of eight percent of the total residential units within the city limits, which at this time is about 1,300 units. STRs within commercial zoning districts and North Sisters Business Park will be exempt from the eight percent maximum.

No recreational vehicle, travel trailer, or other temporary shelter could be inhabited in conjunction with an STR.

Any STR application submitted after the effective date of the revised ordinance will be specific to the owner of the dwelling unit or owner-authorized buyer for which the permit is issued. In other words, the STR permit will not run with the land, and upon sale or transfer of the property, the STR permit will be void. The exception to that provision has to do with a surviving spouse or children for their lifetime.

Any STR approved and legally permitted under the old 2013 Development Code, or prior to February 2013, may continue as a legal nonconforming use provided the use of the property as an STR is not abandoned and the annual license is renewed. Failure to obtain and/or maintain the STR operating annual license, failure to pay transient room tax, and non-use as a rental would be considered abandonment of use.

For STRs in residential zoning districts and in the UAR, a written notice of decision regarding issuance of the permit will be mailed to all neighboring properties within 100 feet of the site (and others requesting notification) within five days after the City signs the decision.

If three or more code violations related to the use of the STR, verified by the City, have occurred on the property containing the STR within a period of 12 consecutive months, the City may revoke the STR permit.

The proposed timeline for formal review and adoption of the STR ordinance includes: May 17 - Planning Commission hearing and recommendation to City Council; June 27 - City Council hearing and adoption; and July 27 - effective date of the ordinance amendments. The public may testify in person at the public hearings or may send written comment prior to the hearing to City Recorder Kerry Prosser,

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