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Proposal for Sensible Short Term Rental Policies and the Protection of Neighborhoods

Should the City expand STRs, we request the following six points be addressed:

  1. Currently many STRs are operating outside of the Tourist Overlay with impunity. Before any expansion, resources must be in place to enforce city ordinances. This includes increasing the number of code enforcement officers and expanding their availability to weekends and evenings, when most violations occur. A 24/7 complaint line is needed. Auditing must occur to ensure that STRs are paying the full level of taxes. There must be meaningful consequences to offenders, including significant fines and loss of operating licenses. Enforcement should not be discretionary. If resources for enforcement cannot be guaranteed, expansion should not occur.

  2. Limit STRs to the primary residence of the license applicant to mitigate the destabilizing financial and cultural effects on neighborhoods, as well as the reduction of workforce housing stock.

  3. Add STR to the list of “special exceptions” allowed in residential zones rather than to the list of permitted uses. Nearby residents will be notified of the STR application and given an opportunity for their concerns to be addressed at a public hearing.

  4. Restrict the density of STRs in neighborhoods outside of the TO. For example, permit only one STR within a certain distance or within a block. This protection addresses concerns about the destabilizing effects of STRs on neighborhoods.

  5. Post a mapped inventory of licensed STRs on the City’s website. It should include contact information for STR operators. This will provide a mechanism for neighborhood residents and STR renters to ascertain whether a rental is operating legally.

  6. Require the support of the neighborhood residents before permitting the STR. This should include approval by a homeowners or neighborhood association. In the event that no neighborhood organization exists, require that all nearby residents sign a petition indicating that they have no objection to the STR.

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