Our group, Oregon Coast Hosts, would like to offer the following response to the recent Op/Ed penned by Karen Babbitt published by your publication recently (see link below.*)
By Pete Stone, Board Member, Oregon Coast Hosts, Nedonna Beach, OR
A recent Op/Ed by Karen Babbitt, in reference to Short Term Rentals (STRS) asked, “Can we really work together?” The answer from Oregon Coast Hosts is, “Yes!” I would like to thank Ms. Babbitt for bringing attention to this issue, and I’d like to introduce our group which was mentioned, Oregon Coast Hosts: Our group supports tourism while advocating for balanced regulations that meet community goals. We are very open to working together.
I’d like to start by clearing up a misconception that “STR owners” are merely “investors” as described. Of all the owners who have STR permits, 93% have only a single permit. These are typically families who often enjoy their home themselves, may have eventual plans to retire to the coast, or who plan to pass their home down to their children. Our guests enjoy the homes they rent just as any other resident would by cooking, reading, playing at the beach, and visiting local shops and restaurants. STRs have been a part of Tillamook County for generations and we hope to preserve this right to help provide access to the Oregon Coast for guests.
We do not want this issue to divide our community. Our goal is to support regulations that are fact-based and address problems attributed to STRs. We’d like more data about violations, enforcement, and economic impacts of tourism before we penalize all STRs and remove property rights from neighbors who may like to have an STR permit in the future. So far, the data from the county shows an extremely low number of complaints and violations, and we’re looking forward to better data tracking from the county’s new STR hotline.
We all agree that there is a shortage of both affordable and workforce housing in Tillamook County. Thankfully, this important issue is being tackled by the Housing Commission. Tillamook County’s most recent studies show very little overlap between the price points of needed housing with those that have STR permits, especially in the Coastal Market where STRs are more common. Only 7% of the county’s full housing stock are STRs, while the range in historical resort areas where there’s a high percentage of vacation homes is roughly 20%-25%.
STRs are a vital part of the local Tillamook County economy. With very few hotels, STRs make up roughly 70% of visitor accommodations. Spending by STR homeowners and guests has a significant impact across our economy and helps support many types of businesses. Since 2014, Transient Lodging Taxes have brought in nearly $40 million to Tillamook County, which has been invested in countless community projects. Additional STR fees fund emergency services and workforce housing initiatives.
We look forward to working with our community to both protect and preserve the high quality of the neighborhoods we mutually care about and enjoy. We want to be good neighbors and find equitable solutions to any problems that might occur going forward.
*Link to Karen Babbitt’s Op/Ed – https://www.tillamookcountypioneer.net/op-ed-strs-can-we-really-work-together/