Short-term rentals add very little to a neighborhood, not neighbors nor volunteers for a community. They bring problems though in the form of strangers, unleashed dogs, unsupervised children, garbage, speeding cars, illegally parked cars, trespassers, noise and entitled vacationers who think they have bought out the whole neighborhood with their one or two nights at that rental business.

What they do enhance are the rental owners’ and management companies’ bottom line. But the benefits even there are vastly outnumbered by the ills they create for neighbors, local law enforcement and the community at large.

Housing is in desperately short supply in Lincoln County — people with good jobs and fair wages cannot find housing in this county. Many know a nurse or a therapist who has to commute from Corvallis to their work in Lincoln County due to a lack of rental housing here. The county needs to cap short-term rentals so our workers have places to live in the county where they work.

It is time for Lincoln County to get serious about this neighborhood-soul-sucking business. The new county attorney thinks they are single-family homes. I ask her, why do they require a business license to operate in Lincoln County if they are just single-family homes?

And, if you are going to say they are “zoned single family residences,” why are businesses allowed there for lodging when B&Bs are expressly forbidden in our R-1A zone? If you are going to enforce zoning for them, which should be illegal on the face of it, why are you ignoring the other part of our residential zoning?

Zoning is not a cafeteria plan where you can pick and choose what you like and ignore what you don’t. Believe me, if residents could do that, this would not be an issue today! And who are the “residents” in said STR (you call it a home)? Do the renters get mail there? Do the renters vote in Lincoln County? The answer to all questions in order is, there are none, no and no.

And County Counsel Yuille, over 90 percent of these for-profit businesses do not live in Lincoln County. So the businesses you are currying favor with take most of their profits out of the county.

Stop molly-coddling a billion dollar business and listen to the residents you are supposed to be serving in your legal capacity. Neighborhoods are the new endangered species — read about this, do some research. This is a global problem, not just here in coastal Oregon. You can stop this from killing our county. You can save our neighborhoods, but will you?

To all registered Lincoln County voters: We have no confidence that Lincoln County government is able to protect our housing stock and neighborhood livability. Lincoln County residents must act.

If you have not been able to find or buy any available housing because you are outbid by investors, or your enjoyment of your property rights has been sabotaged by these for-profit, mini-motels in your neighborhoods, sign our petition at 15neighborhoods.com. Print the signature sheet and mail it to us or call 541-764-2658 to have one sent to you.

You have rights, too. Sign to keep short-term rentals in tourist-commercial zones and out of our neighborhoods.

Michele Riley lives near Depoe Bay in the unincorporated area of Lincoln County and is a member of the 15neighborhoods steering committee.

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