By Cindy Kenne on behalf of the Manzanita Short-Term Rental Workgroup
Over the past two years, you may have heard the buzz about a group of Manzanita citizens that meet regularly on Zoom to discuss the short-term rentals in Manzanita. That would be us, the Short-Term Rental (STR) Workgroup, made up of citizens appointed by Mayor Scott over two years ago. We have accomplished much during this time and want to spread the word on how the process worked, and how to look at the improvements that have been made. We believe our work, along with City enforcement, will help ensure that residents (both part and full time) and visitors can all enjoy this community.
Originally, we met at city hall and meetings were open to the public. The COVID situation soon moved us into meeting on Zoom. We adapted and found that our meetings had even stronger attendance using this format. This was pivotal as we were committed to gathering as much information as possible about people who owned STRs, people who lived near STRs, and the impact of the STRs on our community. Being able to listen to concerns and answer questions helped in our decision making.
Our goals and directives were simple:
1. Evaluate the current short-term rental regulations.
2. Provide strategies to address community livability related to STRs.
3. Present reports and recommendations to the City Council.
In our first three months we reviewed Ordinance 10-3, which governs STRs. Updating and revising this was a priority. We wanted to know the community perception of STRs and what was working and not working in our city. The concept of creating a survey was high on the list, but was put on hold when Covid-19 caused closure of the STRs and public gatherings.
The Covid-19 closure presented challenges for re-opening the STRs while keeping our citizens and visitors safe and healthy. These concerns include support for the work force of the STR industry. With advice from professionals in health, hygiene and epidemiology, the STR committee developed a set of protocols to keep renters and workers safe during the pandemic. These protocols were used by other communities up and down the coast. The guidelines are available here: https://ci.manzanita.or.us/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/11-STR-Cleaning-Guidelines-1.pdf
The STR workgroup developed the survey to gather information on the impact of STRs in the community. There were close to 500 responses. In-depth discussion of the results were held in Zoom meetings. Analyzing the return data and drawing conclusions formed the basis for recommended changes to the ordinance.
To date, the Manzanita City Council has accepted the STR workgroup revisions concerning:
•Agent Registration Forms
•Emergency Postings inside STRs
•Identification Sign Posting
•Parking Regulations and Submittal Requirements
•Local Agent definition and duties
•Garbage Storage and Removal
•Occupancy Capacity Standards
The sign posting requirement will ensure there is a readily accessible number to call if needed. Parking regulations will help keep our streets open for car and pedestrian traffic. Local agent protocols require that a person be available at all times to respond to issues.
The STR noise standards have been adopted city-wide for all properties. This includes quiet hours from 10:00 pm through 7:00 am daily.
The newly revised and approved Ordinance 10-3 can be found on the City website at https://ci.manzanita.or.us/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Ordinance-10-03-STR-regulations-revised-09.08.2021.pdf.
The STR workgroup is moving forward and hopes to work for the benefit of all the citizens of Manzanita and the STR industry. Density is still an issue in the community. It is no secret that most of the STRs are located in the first few blocks from the beach. We are researching and learning from other communities how they have managed this issue. We are committed to maintaining our way of life and our community values, while honoring the fact that STR taxes provides us with the revenues our city relies upon.
Clarity and language is always an issue when dealing with big ideas and change. It is a benefit, once again, to have other ears and eyes upon us. We continue to tweak our language and word choices in order to be clearly understood. We are always striving to listen to the concerns of STR owners and citizens.
Finding solutions is not an easy task. We are constantly reminded that visitors like to come to Manzanita because they love the small-town experience. A continuing goal of our workgroup is to share our town and still maintain a livable and healthy community.
Manzanita Short-Term Rental Workgroup: Cindy Kenne, Jo Newhouse, Lee Hiltenbrand, Amy VanDyke, Danielle Johnson and City representative Judy Wilson