Several Sisters City Councilors are calling for tighter regulation on vacation rentals.
Councilors reviewed recommendations from the Sisters Planning Commission regarding changes to the City vacation rental (VR) regulations at the November 29 Council workshop. Several councilors want more regulation on density and spacing between rentals.
Over the past three months, staff has been working with the Planning Commission to evaluate the current VR regulations, identify key issues, and form recommendations for modifications to the existing VR regulations (see The Nugget, "Planning Commission recommends caps on vacation rentals," November 22, page 9).
Council did approve increasing the current $250 application fee for VRs to $500.
Councilor Andrea Blum told her fellow councilors she was "less than pleased that existing VR owners aren't participating in the discussions." She went on to say that the suggested "changes seem like commonsense restrictions." She thinks that spacing or density of VRs might be something to take into consideration.
Councilor Richard Esterman agreed the VR approval should not be transferable with the sale of the property. He supports the idea of caps on the maximum number of VRs allowed in residential zones. He also supports required liability insurance for VR owners.
Councilor Nancy Connolly believes that quality of life and maintaining the integrity of the community is key. She supports the Planning Commission recommendations. She particularly thinks that adequate onsite parking at VRs is an issue.
Community Development director Patrick Davenport cautioned the Council when considering duration and occupancy limits, to create reasonable requirements the City can enforce.
Mayor Chuck Ryan voiced concern regarding spacing of VRs, fearing a concentration of VRs in any one particular neighborhood. He shares Connolly's concern regarding parking. He also stressed the importance of being certain that all legal issues are clearly and completely addressed to avoid future problems or lawsuits.
Now that Council has voiced its opinions on the Planning Commission recommendations regarding VRs, the staff will draft VR text amendments to be reviewed by the Council at another workshop prior to a formal text amendment adoption.