This article was updated 10/12/2021
So what’s the skinny on this election? Supporters of Ballot Measure 21-203 are asking for a “Yes” vote which will ban all new STR’s from operating in Lincoln County, and will phase out existing STR’s over a five year period. The opponents of the Ballot Measure are asking for a “No” vote which will let the County’s public process of review and revision continue resulting in revisions to the STR licensing regulations hopefully by year-end.
The following is our best description of what will happen should the Ballot Measure succeed or should it fail. This is an honest attempt to describe only what will change in the rules. We have provided a link in each case to those who support each side so you can review their reasoning for the positions they have taken.
Where do these rules apply
To begin, it is important to realize that this debate only impacts unincorporated portions of the County. Each City in our County has their own STR rules therefore, all homes and current STR’s that are within the city limits of Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Toledo, Walport, and Yachats will not be affected by this election. That said all registered voters in those cities will be allowed to vote on Ballot Measure 21-203.
If the “YES” vote prevails
The Board of Commissioners will be instructed to discontinue their current public process and abandon the current draft set of revisions specific to Short Term Rentals in Sections 4.405 to 4.460 of the Lincoln County Code. These rules by order of Ballot Measure 21-203 will be revised to reflect these specific changes.
- Effective on the date of adoption of the measure, no new STR licenses shall be issued in R-1-A, R-1 and R-2 zones in unincorporated Lincoln County. As of September 2021, there were less than 55 known to exist outside of the restricted zones. (See Lincoln County STR Map)
- Phase out all STR’s contained in R-1-A, R-1 and R-2 zones over a five-year period. As of September 2021, there were 477 licensed STR’s that will be phased out in these zones.
- Will override the HOA bylaws, CC&R and similar documents in planned community neighborhoods that explicitly allowed vacation rentals for all owners from inception.
- For STR’s during the transition period and STR’s outside of R-1-A, R-1, R-2 zones after the transition, impose an occupancy restriction of two people per bedroom, currently it is three people per bedroom plus two.
- For STR’s during the transition period and STR’s outside of R-1-A, R-1, R-2 zones after the transition, require a septic system evaluation by a state licensed inspector.
- For STR’s during the transition period and STR’s outside of R-1-A, R-1, R-2 zones after the transition, require off street parking for all STR association vehicles.
- Enact several changes to the current complaint process.
You can review the position of proponents of Ballot Measure 21-203 at 15neighborhoods.com.
If the “NO” vote prevails
The Board of Commissioners complete their current public process and enact revisions specific to Short Term Rentals in Sections 4.405 to 4.460 of the Lincoln County Code. The current proposal for rule changes was published by County Counsel on September 29, 2021. This proposal includes these specific changes.
- Impose limits on the total number of STR’s in 5 regional areas based on percentages. This would reduce the current number of STR permitted with some growth in areas East of Hwy 101 and some reduction through attrition in areas West of Hwy 101. Will reduce current licenses by 35 and establish a lottery process for new applications that exceed the limit.
- Reduce the occupancy limit to two per bedroom plus two persons or alternatively impose limits resulting from the septic system review if applicable, whichever is less.
- Require all existing STR’s to have On-Site Septic Systems inspected by a DEQ authorized professional and any deficiencies cured to continue as a STR’s, all new license applicants will require inspection as well. Septic evaluations may result in lower occupancy rates for individual STR’s.
- Parking rules remain unchanged and currently requires one off street parking spot for each bedroom plus one additional parking spot.
- Create a more robust complaint process adding an Administrative Hearing procedure to give the County more tools to address issues that may arise with individual STR’s.
You can find a complete record of Lincoln County’s process at this link Short Term Rental 2021 Workshops.
Additional Quick Reference Resources
- Text of Ballot Measure 21-203
- Most Recent STR Licensing Language From Lincoln County
- Mapping of Current STR's, City Limits, and STR Restricted Zones under 21-203