“STRs have snuck into our neighborhoods under cover of a business license that should not have ever been allowed.” — 15neighborhoods

Families with children rely on essential workers. Essential workers include teachers and all who staff our school district: bus drivers, maintenance and landscaping staff, library staff, parent volunteers, after-school and summer program staff, administrative staff, food service workers and school board volunteers.

Besides schools for our children, the 45,000 permanent residents of Lincoln County need emergency responders, social workers, permanent medical and other staff and volunteers for our clinics and two brand new hospitals. Seniors need home health care services so they can age at home.

We need electricians, plumbers, pipefitters, carpenters, car mechanics, painters, landscapers, and retail services to keep our homes and vehicles in top-notch condition. The Oregon Coast Community College graduates students with these skillsets and more.

We need art.

We need a workforce for the three industries that fuel Lincoln County’s economy: fisheries, timber and agriculture.

We hear about people leaving Lincoln County because there is no available housing — at any price point. We also see the “Help Wanted” signs for good-paying jobs. Lincoln County’s unemployed need housing to apply for work, and they need work to afford stable housing. Lincoln County issues more business licenses for STRs than permits for new construction. STRs are the problem.

In 2020, an STR industry economist spoke at a webinar for the Lincoln County government. He was asked this question: How many STRs can a county with a population of about 45,000 support when it has 1) a vacancy of under 1 percent and 2) a high demand for housing? In other words, how many STRs can Lincoln County afford without losing available and affordable workforce housing? His response: Unless the goal is to change the county’s basic economy, about 1 percent. What is affordable? He recommended the Nurse’s Test: Can a nurse find affordable housing? He assumes a salary of $45,000, about one-third for housing. Countywide, over 4 percent of our housing stock is invested in licensed STRs, and we have a nursing shortage.

At the recent Bayshore Homeowner Association’s annual meeting, a group of STR investors took over the planned agenda, perhaps illegally installing a board dominated by STR investors who want to turn Bayshore into a resort. In the investors’ defense, Via Oregon subsequently claimed that Bayshore was “built specifically as second home/STR communities” (YachatsNews.com, May 25).

Let’s be clear: Bayshore is an HOA community of single-family homes and is so zoned. The county zoned Bayshore R-1-A (one-family dwelling) when it was first platted more than 60 years ago, well before STRs existed on an industrial scale.

Today’s Bayshore includes two more zones: an R-2 zone (two-family dwelling; bed and breakfast inn) and a CT zone (hotels, motels, and resorts on sewer; bed and breakfast inns). The CT zone consists of about 10 lots where the Alsi Resort Hotel now stands. Bed and breakfast inns require an onsite manager and are limited to six renters. There are no bed and breakfast inns in Bayshore. Yet, STRs are found throughout Bayshore’s R-1-A zone.

Bayshore has 1,000 lots, of which 700 are built, and 104 are licensed STRs. Imagine how a “Bayshore Resort” of predominately STRs will impact the workforce housing needed for our economy?

STRs must be more than capped. They must be phased out of residential zones. The 15neighborhoods petition will accomplish this. Please download, print and sign the petition at www.15neighborhoods.com or call 541-764-2658 to be mailed copies.

We can vote for neighborhoods on Nov. 2 by voting STRs out if we qualify by Aug. 4.

Monica Kirk is a member of the 15neighborhoods steering committee. She lives in Miroco, an unincorporated area of Lincoln County.

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