By Dave Benneth, Neskowin
OK. I admit it. We impose on our neighbors.
When we’re gone, we’ve asked Joanie to feed our cat and Christi to water our flowers. We reciprocate when they ask for our help. And frankly, we have rather noisy family gatherings over the July 4th holiday. It happens once a year. I hope our impositions are “neighborly”.
But when a neighbor decides to turn a residence into a full-time short-term rental, that becomes an imposition that’s not very neighborly. For one thing, the owner is hardly ever present so they won’t feed your cat or water your plants. But more importantly, they often have a rapid turnover of guests, who generally are on vacation and are often noisier with more people, cars, garbage and dogs than a full-time neighbor or a vacation home used by one family.
A neighbor in Neskowin who has full-time short-term rentals on both sides describes his experience as follows: “We have owned our single-family home in the South Beach area of Neskowin for thirty-five years. The recent aggressive acquisition of homes in the area for use solely as short-term rentals, many by a single owner with multiple properties, has entirely changed the nature of our community with an adverse effect on safety and livability. Our family-friendly environment is sometimes threatened by renters with little understanding of or consideration for the neighbors. Normal civility can go out the window when short term tenants feel entitled to an anonymous vacation blowout.”
The message is clear from recent community surveys: a significant number of our neighbors feel they are losing the tranquility and livability of their neighborhoods. And by allowing unrestricted growth of STRs, the County has unwittingly facilitated this decline. The role of the County’s STR Advisory Committee is to determine how to stop this decline and help restore livability.
I believe we can begin to rectify the problem by limiting the number of nights an STR can be rented annually to be sure its primary use is personal, rather than business.
To do otherwise, is to further facilitate more than neighborly impositions on our neighbors…much more.