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4A • June 10, 2016 • Seaside Signal • seasidesignal.com
Vacasa promotes ‘the
he guys who wear the black hats in the Gearhart
short-term rental debate are the vacation rental
management companies. They’re unloved by
residents who see them as distant and unresponsive
and by renters who say the agencies give them a
They’ve become the face of short-term rental demons, var-
iously accused of destroying the fabric of the community and
promoting a culture of greed.
They’re the anonymous company with an unreachable 800
number somewhere in Yorba Linda, California, whose unregu-
lated guests left garbage overﬂ owing on the streets, overstuffed
bedrooms with frat boys and teenage boogie boarders who
shoot pigeons with Daisy riﬂ es.
Vacasa’s management came to Gearhart to correct that
“Every destination along the Oregon Coast is extremely
unique,” Vacasa’s Chief Operating Ofﬁ cer Cliff Johnson said
over latté at McMenamin’s. “While this appears to be a new
issue, people have been traveling to Gearhart forever. There are
people who really appreciate the tranquility.”
Typically, a city’s residents are one-third against and two-
thirds for short-term rentals, “almost universally in all commu-
nities,” Johnson said. “Most people in the middle are OK with it
as long as it’s regulated and done responsibly. We’re responsible
for our guests. If it’s the worst home in the community, that’s
what we hear about at the meeting.”
People in Gearhart worry about becoming Seaside, he said.
“That would be the worst thing for the properties we manage in
Gearhart. Because that’s not what people coming to Gearhart
for vacation want. They speciﬁ cally want the ‘Gearhart experi-
According to the proposed regulations, the city could require
owners of short-term rental properties to provide proof of up-
to-date state lodging
tax payments and
standards for off-site
SEEN FROM SEASIDE
parking, septic sys-
tems, garbage pickup,
room occupancy and
bring a $500 ﬁ ne; “three strikes,” revocation of a permit. Per-
mits would not be transferable, except through inheritance, and
the number of permits would be reduced through attrition.
The city reported 86 short-term rentals at the end of April; as
of late May, there were 96.
Playing by the rules
Of those, Vacasa manages 40 properties in Gearhart and out-
side its city limits, according to Johnson and Marketing Director
Vacasa doesn’t object to a short-term rental permit process or
a city tax in Gearhart or other cities.
A local lodging tax can be a boon to the city, Johnson said.
While state tourism taxes must go to promote tourism, cities can
designate any use they choose.
Safety inspections level the playing ﬁ eld. “We only want
safe homes for our guests,” he said. “That’s something we agree
on and are good with complying on.”
Johnson said parking rules “can get interesting, but you
have to be realistic about it.” For example, Lincoln City’s rules
prohibiting out-of-towner parking “creates havoc” in summer
Johnson said he would like to see a higher cap on the num-
ber of Gearhart’s short-term rentals or elimination of the cap
In Manzanita, short-term rentals are capped by a formula
ﬁ guring overall percentage of residential units.
“There might be times when the cap is reached, but it’s got
a little room for buffer for people to fold in,” Johnson said.
“There are people who purchased property with the intent of
renting it and then they had to wait until someone drops out of
If Gearhart is set on a cap, he added, do not allow it to shrink
R.J. MARX/SEASIDE SIGNAL
Marketing Director Sarah Tatone and Chief Operating Offi cer
Cliff Johnson of Vacasa.
Limits to occupancy should be based on the number of bed-
rooms, especially where there is a septic system or “concern for
the quiet care of the community.”
Johnson said he opposes rules preventing new owners from
applying for permits.
Length-of-stay rules are “impossible to enforce,” and reward
those willing to circumvent the rules.
“Gearhart is unique in that it’s not trying to drive tourism,
but you still need business in the winter,” he said.
The consequences of overly restrictive clauses could ad-
versely impact real estate values, he said, and lead to an increase
in vacant homes — targets for crime. They could push business
underground and hurt real estate prices.
And be careful about over-complicated rules, Johnson
warned. “Cannon Beach’s law is so confusing there are ram-
pant violations of the law. People feel they are penalized for
following the rules.”
Even in big cities, he said, enforcement is difﬁ cult.
“It’s one thing to design a lot of rules and another to look at
how those rules are going to play out in practice especially in a
smaller city government like Gearhart,” Johnson said.
Voices against short-term rental regulation say they repre-
sent the original spirit of Gearhart, days when visitors by the
hundreds made their way to the Gearhart Hotel, summer homes,
cabins and bungalows. Some say they have a right to manage
their properties as they see ﬁ t without interference from the
city — any loss of that right is a government taking. For others,
renting is the only way they say they can keep their homes.
Those in favor of new rules seek a permitting process with
teeth to prevent short-term rental abuses and maintain a quality
in the community that fosters local schools, volunteers and a
high quality of life — what one advocate described as the “heart
and soul of the community.”
The City Council will meet July 5 to discuss the Planning
Where a $35 million corporation ﬁ ts into the discussion
“Our goal is to work in the communities that embrace us,
and ﬁ nd the rules that ﬁ t us best,” Johnson said. “Gearhart is fo-
cusing on the two or three things they’re most concerned about,
which will come down to the overall fabric of the community.
“We need to understand where people are coming from and
ﬁ nd some common ground,” Johnson said.
“We’re constantly looking at way to improve our experi-
ence,” Tatone added.
Pesticides having an
impact on our wildlife
e always have a good time at the United Method-
ist women’s meetings. On May 11, it was our an-
nual salute to our ladies over 80. We had a Luau,
capably arranged by Judy Parish, Pearl Mesta of Methodist
Party Givers. We had pork and poi, tropical fruits, pine-
apple upside down cake, fruit punch, sticky rice dessert,
spam, salads, macadamia nuts and so many other kinds
of Hawaiian dishes. Everyone wore muumuus and leis or
ﬂ owered shirts. Some had green grass skirts. A special treat
was an Elvis Presley solo by Jeremy Sanders. His song was
“Rock-A-Hula Baby” and he did a great professional job.
We didn’t know if he had a local gig anywhere but it could
It was with
mixed feelings we
SCENE & HEARD
arrived at church
what has gone on
with the sidewalk
paving. It’s taken
up all but one of our parking places with way too much
sidewalk. I doubt if there was any discussion beforehand.
Still, it will be nice to have paving again after the falls and
inconvenience. On Sunday, May 29, we were met by a
Port-A-Potty just a few feet from the spot where a hand-
icapped bus unloads its passengers. It seemed like it was
there on purpose.
Somehow I thought the 1914 sidewalks were still pres-
ent at Franklin and 12th Avenue, but on our sight seeing
trip earlier, I noted that they had been scraped out as well.
As I’ve noted before, my hometown has long gone.
Where are the birds? By this time into the year, I would
be seeing a lot of juncos, sparrows, starlings or other small
birds at the feeder, or ﬂ itting around the yard. I see an oc-
casional scrub Jay, crows, of course, and there would have
been several killdeers on the Factory Outlet lawn. I’ve seen
the doves only a time or two although I hear them cooing
in the trees. What gives? It’s spring! Eventually a couple of
black-capped chickadees did show up and a few more took
up residence in the shrubs and bushes.
Personally, I think the reason we never see frogs or
toads or garter snakes anymore is that people are recklessly
using things like Roundup and other pesticides. The food
chain just wipes out everything.
Memorial Day, I went with friends Ann and Judy to the
legion — Elks observance at the Legion Hall. We had a
ceremony outside in the sun. The Boy Scouts Troop 642
put ﬂ ags in place and led the Pledge of Allegiance. Speak-
ers were Col. Michael Becker from the Oregon Training
Center, Rep. Deborah Boone and Mayor Don Larsen.
There were also remarks from Cmdr. Chuck Godwin and
Michael Huevelhorst from the Elks Lodge #1748. Kayla
Vowels sang the National Anthem and led a couple of other
numbers. The Jack McCollum family did the wreath toss.
Sgt. at Arms did the ﬂ ag raising. Then we went into the
hall for spaghetti and salad. It was a satisfying holiday.
Out ﬁ nal celebration was ice cream at the Gearhart Dairy
The recent purchase of the golf course and the partee
room for renovations has gotten people talking about the
good old times of its heyday. Someone thought I’d re-
member the name of its former cook and I did eventually. I
came up with the Estrella part ﬁ rst. The Tommy came later.
Also, I thought of his daughter Melody, who used to come
to the Seaside clinic with her mother when I was working
there. Gary worked at the restaurant a while and learned a
lot about cooking from Tommy.
A snappy dresser in Washington, D.C. was walking to
his car when a man with a gun showed his weapon and
said, “Give me all of your money!”
“Oh, I can’t do that,” replied the S.D. “I’m a U.S. Con-
gressman and I have responsibilities.”
“Well, then,” said the gunman, “give me all of my
(Randy Brainerd told me this story when I was under
the weather so I hop I came close in the repetition.)
When I was a little girl, I didn’t want to gather eggs
in the henhouse because I was afraid of the poultrygeist.
(Courtesy of Dana Perino.)
How neighboring cities regulate short-term rentals
County regulates rentals.
Homeowners responsible for
Proof of liability insurance.
Transient lodging tax with $150
annual permit fee and $70 inspec-
New ownership or management
Newport business license re-
quired for rentals less than 30 days.
Bed & Breakfasts require a separate
Rentals permitted in all of the
city’s residential and commercially
Designated contact required, in-
cluding notification to neighbors.
Application with site plan and
parking; maximum occupancy of
two per bedroom.
Waste disposal, landscaping and
Home rental permit is authori-
zation to rent a house or portion of
a house for periods of less than 30
days. One permit per homeown-
er. The permit must be renewed
Upon issuance, the vacation
home rental permit allows a prop-
erty owner to rent the dwelling to
one tenancy group in a two-week
Requires inspection, local repre-
sentative and city business license.
$275 one-time non-refundable
Permit must be renewed annu-
Local representative certifica-
A vacation home rental permit
is issued to a specific owner of a
Cap at 92. As new permits
become available, city conducts
lottery for new permit-holders.
As transient rental permits
becomes available, the City con-
ducts a lottery (randomly selects)
property owner names from a list
of individuals who wish to apply
for a five-year permit.
Seaside requires approval for
short-term rental of certain resi-
Requires owner contact, site
plan, noise, smoke, odor and waste
Occupancy limits of three per
bedroom. Local contact and imme-
diate neighbor notifications.
Three off-street parking spaces
Tsunami info must be posted,
including a tsunami evacuation
map within the vacation rental.
Limited zones for rentals.
City license required.
Application with $75 fee and
fire and safety inspections.
Licenses limited by residential
zones, not to exceed 17½ percent
of the total number of dwellings
with those zones.
Rental license lapses upon sale
or property or upon failure to sub-
mit lodging tax reports.
John D. Bruijn
R.J. MARX/SEASIDE SIGNAL
Warm weather brought beachgoers to Seaside Saturday.
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