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Sep-12-2022 16:04printcomments

LUBA Decision Final on Short-Term Rentals in Lincoln County

The County has yet to adapt its approach to comply with LUBA’s ruling.

short term rental
Short-term rentals provide millions to services in the area.

(WALDPORT, Ore.) - The clock has run out on Lincoln County and Ballot Measure 21-203 proponents 15Neighborhoods to appeal the ruling on lawful short-term rentals by the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) last month.

On August 8th LUBA ruled that the ballot measure violated pre-existing Oregon state land-use law in seeking to phase-out short-term rentals in unincorporated Lincoln County over five years.

On August 31, 2022, the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners voted to extend a Moratorium on issuing short-term rental licensing for 6 months, although LUBA also ruled that the County’s longstanding ban on transfer of vacation rental licenses to a property’s new owner also violates Oregon law.

The LUBA decision found short-term rentals to be lawful residential use per zoning code, not a commercial use, as the County had argued before LUBA.

VIA Oregon, the advocacy group representing property owners’ rights, now seeks to consolidate its challenges to the license moratorium and the County Ordinance 523 into a single case before the Lincoln County Circuit Court.

With Ordinance 523, Lincoln County set up seven separate “zones” with licensing caps and more stringent occupancy limits and septic rules designed to further limit occupancy, as well as creating non-transfer of licensing to new owners.

Because Commissioners passed their ordinance as a business license regulation, they now open themselves up to another challenge in court as the LUBA decision holds conduct, such as refusing to allow the transfer of the use to a new owner, violates state law and is unconstitutional.

The County has yet to adapt its approach to comply with LUBA’s ruling.

Ordinance 523 and the Moratorium are defective under the same law that invalidated the Ballot Measure, as well as other state laws governing the County’s authority to change land use after-the-fact.

VIA Oregon statement: "As the LUBA decision is officially the rule of law, VIA Oregon hopes this will bring Lincoln County back to the table to discuss common-sense regulation.

"We hope the County will accept our help instead of continuing to waste taxpayer money on the bad idea of banning short-term rentals and trying to stop legal licensing in violation of state law.

"Because vacation rentals are allowed to continue, the County should be able to fund services vital to tourism from the lodging taxes we contribute, such as additional Sheriff Deputies and building affordable workforce housing.

"Beach homes are a limited resource and sharing them benefits the public interest.”

Source: VIA Oregon news release

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