Changes to STR regulations in the works

Hood River County is working to modify Short Term Rental (STR) regulations, and an amendment to the current rules could be open for public hearing in January.

During their Nov. 19 regular work session, the county commission heard from Principal Planner Eric Walker, the interim director for community development.

Walker was also present at the commission’s Oct. 15 meeting, where he took input from the commissioners on what direction they wanted the ordinance to go in. “The idea (of the ordinance) is not to amend the code, but to change the interpretation,” he said at that meeting.

County staff was charged with creating a legislative amendment after a public hearing on the STR issue back in August, where the commission decided to pursue several changes to the STR code:

  1. Requiring applicants to prove that a dwelling is their primary residence with two forms of ID
  2. Eliminate the existing cap
  3. Grandfather existing STRs into a new regulation system and require new applicants to follow new application requirements and regulations
  4. Prohibit all STRs on EFU land

Walker’s draft resolution reflects those basic points, with the addition of clear definitions and clarifications to reduce ambiguity.

At their October meeting, the commissioners asked that Walker clarify some language, specifically, the definition of resident.

Commissioners also had some questions on language clarifications during the Nov. 19 meeting, and Commissioner Bob Benton said that the wordiness of the ordinance was “excessive.”

“But if it’s going to make Eric (Walker)’s job easier and he’s confident in it, then I default to him,” Benton said.

Walker said that he hopes to get an official Notice of Land Use Hearing (required under Measure 56) issued to residents in December so that a public hearing can be held on Jan. 22.

With the commissioners agreeing that very little changes needed to be made to the current draft ordinance, the commissioners intend to further review the changes in the current ordinance and asked Walker to present again at their regular Dec. 17 meeting.

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