12/4/2018 1:37:00 PM Council adopts short-term rental ordinances
By Sue Stafford
No City Council minds were changed over the two weeks since the first reading of the proposed ordinances dealing with short-term rentals in Sisters.
With a split vote of three in favor (Chuck Ryan, Andrea Blum and Nancy Connolly) and two against (Richard Esterman and David Asson), the ordinances were approved at the November 28 Council meeting. The ordinances require operator licenses for owners of short-term rental properties and a business license for each unit. Operator licenses for new STRs after the ordinances take effect will not transfer with the property when it sells.
Two local citizens, Paul Bennett and Christine Funk, provided testimony against the 250-foot spacing requirement between short-term rental properties. They both thought there should be no spacing restrictions on properties where the homeowner is a full-time resident and only occasionally rents out an extra room or two. Bennett has been doing that for a number of years through Airbnb, so will be grandfathered in under the new regulations.
Funk, on the other hand, does not currently rent out a room but would like to have that option if desired in the future. She asked the Council to consider passing the ordinances but excluding the spacing requirement. Funk had not attended hearings held by the Planning Commission and the City Council over the past several years, so was not aware of all the considerations already discussed. Because this was the second reading of one of the ordinances, making changes was not a possibility.
The councilors agreed with a recommendation from the Planning Commission that a review be done of the short-term rental situation and the new ordinances after two years of experience.