Council addresses STRs Monday

City Council will continue taking testimony, and then begin deliberations, on the protracted subject of short term rental (STRs) regulations when it meets Monday.

The continued public hearing on STRs, specifically changes to Municipal Code 17 revisions, gets things going at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

In other business, the council will consider a resolution establishing a State Street Local Improvement District, and adoption of a mayoral resolution in support of “Meatless Mondays.”

The council heard extensive testimony in the opening of the hearing on STRs on April 11, in which owners of rental businesses and current STRs protested based on loss of investment income and jobs that are created by STRs; some urged the city to coordinate STR policies with the county.

Proponents argue that reducing STRs protects neighborhood character and can contribute to a larger pool of long term rentals. The STR policy change proposal emanates from the city’s 2014-15 studies on housing needs and land inventory, which point to steadily decreasing options for affordable housing.

The STR regulations would limit to 90 the number of total days a home can be rented on a short term basis, and create a new category, “Hosted Home Shares,” requiring that any rental unit be the owner’s primary residence: the one where the resident is registered to vote is used as the primary residence for tax purposes, or similar proof that the residence is primary. It also would phase out STRs that do not to conform to off-street parking and other regulations after five years.

The mayoral proclamation states, “whereas, the Hood River City Council encourages residents to join them in eating plant-based meals one day a week to help improve health, save money, and reduce environmental impact,” and declares “all Mondays as ‘Meatless Mondays’ in support of comprehensive sustainability efforts as well as to further encourage residents to eat a more varied plant-based diet to protect their health, save money, protect animals, and protect the environment, and to encourage restaurants, grocery stores, and schools to offer a greater variety of healthier and more sustainable plant-based options.”

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