County Proposes New VRD Rules

A proposal to establish a licensing system for Vacation Rental Dwellings (VRDs) in unincorporated area of Lincoln County will be considered by the Board of County Commissioners at their March 30 public meeting. The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Courthouse in Newport.

Commission Chair Bill Hall said the proposal has emerged after more than a year of work by several county departments and a series of community meetings in the unincorporated part of the county. Hall said the proposed licensing program has been driven by increasing complaints about noise, garbage, parking and other issues that VRD neighbors say are negatively impacting their neighborhoods.

“Although we have existing ordinances to address these issues, we’ve found enforcement to be a challenge,” said Hall. “Citing an offending renter isn’t very effective when that person may never return. By establishing a licensing program, we will have a tool to hold property owners more accountable. The vast majority of owners are not the problem, but it only takes a few problem operations to have a significant negative impact on a neighborhood’s quality of life.”

The proposed licensing program would address occupancy limits, parking, noise ordinance compliance, and impose a requirement for VRDs to secure garbage service from the local hauler. It also sets up a multi-layered complaint procedure, which ultimately could lead to fines and revocation of the license for properties that generate repeated complaints that aren’t addressed.

A secondary goal of the licensing program is to make sure that all rental properties comply with the county’s transient room tax ordinance. “We want a level playing field for every lodging property owner,” said Hall. The licensing and enforcement effort will be a cooperative project involving the County Treasurer’s and County Sheriff’s offices. Hall said that County Counsel, County Planning and the County Assessor’s offices have also been involved in shaping the program.