Council to act on Title 5 rental rules

HR Council meets on Monday and Tuesday

Hood River City Council meets on two consecutive evenings this week — its regular meeting Monday and Tuesday’s special meeting held solely to consider passage of an emergency ordinance on Title 5. This pertains to rules for short term rentals in residential zones. It sets out licensing, fee and reporting rules, conformance standards, and operations requirements for those properties eligible to provide short term rental service.

Both meetings start at 6 p.m. at City Hall, Second and State streets.

The Title 5 ordinance would take effect immediately, as it contains an emergency clause, stating that “due to the need to protect the public health and safety and welfare through the consistent implementation and enforcement of Transient Lodging regulations, especially in the city’s residential zones.”

The council will discuss Title 5 at its regular Nov. 28 meeting, as part of a diverse agenda including recognition of the state champion water polo team from Hood River Valley High School, a discussion on the future of parks planning with Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District, a hearing on forming a Westcliff Drive Sanitary Sewer District, and a discussion of creating a “sanctuary city.”

Sanctuary city is a term that is applied by some to cities in the United States or Canada that have policies designed to not persecute undocumented immigrants. In Oregon, these include Portland, Gaston and Ashland.

City Manager Steve Wheeler will give updates on Westside Concept Plan and on FLAP funding — Federal Lands Access Program — for Columbia Gorge Express, which plans to add service to Hood River in 2018.

Also on the agenda will be discussion of an ordinance establishing a three percent tax on retail marijuana sales in the city. Voters approved the measure on the Nov. 8 ballot, by a margin of 2,635 to 947.

One of the STR regulations’ most vocal opponents, Elizabeth Whelan of the group Loveable Hood River, wrote to City Council on Nov. 14, “We have voiced strong objections throughout the regulatory process of short term rentals in Hood River, to no avail. We collaborated with the Liveable Hood River representatives to craft acceptable regulations on STRs.”

Said Whelan, “It is not too late to modify and change some of the regulations.”

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