Seaside signal. (Seaside, Or.) 1905-current, August 19, 2016, Page 7A, Image 7

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    August 19, 2016 • Seaside Signal • seasidesignal.com • 7A
GearhartNews
Lorain is ‘up to speed’ as
she seeks re-election
Dan Jesse seeks second
term on City Council
Rentals, fire hall on the horizon
Councilor calls for greater emergency preparedness
Lorain said she objects to the person-
al tone injected into local politics. “What
By R.J. Marx
puzzles me is how issues don’t become
Seaside Signal
about the community and what’s good for
the community, but they become person-
Nearing the end of her irst four-year al issues against certain individuals,” she
term, Gearhart City Councilor Sue Lorain said. “I’m running to make decisions for
gathered enough signatures to qualify for a the good of the community, not for the
re-election bid in November.
good of an interest group, this person or
“It feels like it takes two years to get up that, or even where I stand personally. I
to speed,” she said. “Then you start partici- think this council position is about doing
pating. To me, a second term
what’s good for all of us in
is important — to have the
Gearhart.”
background, be more pre-
Lorain said the council’s
pared and inish the things
short-term rental solution
we started in the irst term.
“meets extremes on both
It’s continuity.”
sides.”
Lorain and her partner
As chairwoman of Gear-
moved to Gearhart in 2004.
hart’s Fire Hall Committee,
A retired teacher — “I taught
she said she hopes to devel-
everything at some point,”
op a community-involved
she said — Lorain spent
campaign for the new build-
much of her career teach-
ing, designed to replace the
ing ifth- and sixth-graders
irehouse on Paciic Way.
in Washington’s Highline
A proposal could go before
School District.
voters in 2017.
Lorain serves on the Co-
Sue Lorain
If re-elected, Lorain said
lumbia River Estuary Study
she foresees a relatively
Taskforce board and as vice-president of calmer council interaction. “What’s cool
Seaside Scholarships, a nonproit provid- about this group now is we can disagree
ing scholarships for local students.
on issues, but at the end of the meeting we
Looking back on her four years as can look at each other and say something
councilor, she singled out short-term rent- funny and laugh, and be respectful of each
als, legal actions at Neacoxie Creek Barn other as human beings. That hasn’t always
and the attempted mayoral recall of May- happened. I like the group I’m working
or Dianne Widdop as key issues. “I didn’t with, even though we’re not always on the
see that coming,” Lorain said. “That was same page. We’re a good group, and diver-
tough.”
siied.”
ers. “People knew each other and had a mutual re-
spect and understanding, how to get along and play
nice together.”
Dan Jesse is making his second City Council
With a vacation rental ordinance expected to
bid in Gearhart, defeating his opponent in 2012. be passed in September, Jesse said the contentious
Jesse’s career in public service began with the topic would likely spill into future council sessions.
Seaside Convention Center and
“I don’t think this is coming to an
the Seaside Improvement Com-
end,” he said.
mission, before he and his wife
Both a referendum or a lawsuit
Julie moved to Gearhart, where
in response to the ordinance are
he served on the Planning Com-
possibilities, Jesse said, “and I’ve
mission before election to City
heard rumblings of both. At least
Council.
with a referendum, people could
Dan Jesse, raised in Silver-
decide based on what the referen-
ton, met his wife Julie, a lifelong
dum is.”
Gearhart resident, while a student
He said he welcomed a vote
in Seattle. The couple returned to
on the ordinance or portions of
the region after school. Trained as
it, which could come in the form
a commercial photographer, Jesse
of a special election in 2017. “I’d
is a builder by trade.
like to hear what the people think,
“When we moved here, com-
and I hate to see tax dollars going
mercial photography was not a vi-
Dan Jesse
into a lawsuit.” Jesse said. “I’m
able way to make a living,” Jesse
not convinced the people wanting
said. “I love the ability in a small town to see a cli- short-term rentals would come out as well as they
ent I’ve worked with in the grocery store, to have think it would if it was put to referendum.”
smiling faces and people happy with what you’ve
Jesse said he hopes the dispute with Neacoxie
accomplished. I wish I could say the same about Creek Barn owner Shannon Smith will draw itself
politics.”
to a conclusion as the process moves to Circuit
Jesse was referring to the last four years on Court. “I’m hoping we put that one behind us.”
Gearhart’s City Council, which have seen a number
One issue he’d like to see greater attention to is
of contentious issues, from a mayoral recall vote emergency preparedness.
and vigorous short-term rental debates to ongoing
“I think we’re still missing the boat in dealing
litigation at neighboring Neacoxie Creek Barn.
with emergency preparedness,” he said. “We need
The reason for city’s disquiet, he said, is a “gen- to be putting time and effort as well as money in
erational shift,” in which many longtime residents trying to put ourselves in a better position when a
are either leaving or being displaced by newcom- catastrophic event happens.”
By R.J. Marx
Seaside Signal
Vacation rental owners make plea for compromise
Survey says: take
a fresh look at new
regulations
By R.J. Marx
Seaside Signal
Short-term rental property
owners are seeking a compro-
mise to new rules in Gearhart
that were approved in a irst
reading of an ordinance early
this month.
“Half the voters are against
regulations or have no opin-
ion,” vacation rental property
owner Jim Whittemore said
in a letter to the City Council.
“The message is, the voters
of the city want this process
to take more time — that we
need a compromise.”
Homeowners in Gearhart,
including Whittemore, hired
a polling company to deter-
mine local attitudes on short-
term rental housing.
The poll was conducted
by Jim Moore Methods, af-
EO MEDIA GROUP/FILE PHOTO
Homeowner Laurie Whitte-
more addressed the Plan-
ning Commission at a May
hearing in opposition to
rental regulations.
ter being contacted by part-
time Gearhart resident David
Townsend, founder and pres-
ident of political consulting
irm Townsend Raimundo
Besler & Usher in Sacramen-
to. Townsend said while he is
the owner of a rental proper-
ty in the Little Beach area of
Gearhart, he would not be af-
fected by the new rules.
One-hundred
people
drawn from voter rolls were
surveyed, six of whom said
they had rented their home as
a vacation rental and 94 who
had not. All said they were
familiar with the short-term
rental issue.
“These are decision-mak-
ers,” Townsend said. “What
they’re really saying is, ‘Can’t
we compromise? Why do we
have to jam this thing? Why
don’t we step back, form a
committee, sit down and see
if we can do some compro-
mise?’”
But the results also show
almost two-thirds of Gearhart
residents said the city needs
to adopt an ordinance to reg-
ulate vacation rental units.
And slightly more Gearhart
residents favored moving for-
ward with new rules — 41 to
38 percent — even if the “vast
majority of vacation rental
owners think the process has
been unfair and incomplete.”
City Administrator Chad
Sweet said this week that
the survey, which was creat-
ed without city input, “pretty
much says the Planning Com-
mission and City Council are
moving in the right direction.
It reinforces what we’re do-
ing.”
The council approved new
rules in a irst reading earlier
this month and could bring
them into law with a vote in
September. The ordinance
would go into effect a month
later.
If enacted, permit appli-
cants would be required to
complete forms, pay a $600
permit fee and provide proof
of inspection. The ordinance
requires a 24-hour proper-
ty owner representative and
permit display, which would
list maximum occupancy,
parking and the designated
representative by the entry
door. Each rental would need
a $125 inspection and a post-
ed tsunami evacuation map.
Permit holders would need to
pay city vacation rental taxes.
Overall, a majority of res-
idents polled supported these
measures, however, seven out
of 10 residents disagreed with
a provision stating: “Any
home currently used as a va-
cation rental unit cannot be
used as a vacation rental in
the future unless it stays in
the family.”
“The voters acknowledge
the need for ordinances,
many of which are already
on the books, but do not want
to lose (their) rental homes,”
Whittemore said.
“The voters are really,
‘Let’s have some fair regula-
tion,’” Townsend said. “Let’s
not go overboard and deprive
owners of their right to rent
their property or sell their
house so somebody else can
rent their property out.”
Opponents to the rules
could ile an appeal with the
state Land Use Board of Ap-
peals or present a referendum
challenging all or any part
of the ordinance they want
to change or remove, Sweet
said.
Townsend said a referen-
dum could be iled within the
next year.
“We don’t want to do
that,” Townsend said. “The
council should do the right
thing. There’s no reason not
to look at what this poll says,
not to dismiss it out of hand
because you don’t agree with
it. All the council has to do is
step back, take a deep breath,
pull some people together
and say, ‘Where can we make
some compromise to bring
everybody together?’ I don’t
know why the council and the
mayor need to make this so
divisive.”
On Sept. 7, the council
will vote again on the pro-
posed ordinance.
“I expect they will be
unanimous again,” Sweet
said. “But you never know.
And they did have time to
take this survey under consid-
eration before the irst vote.”
Former British soldier says he’s on a mission in America
Goal is to raise
awareness and money
for veterans’ charities
By Dave Fisher
For Seaside Signal
DAVE FISHER/FOR SEASIDE SIGNAL
On foot and traveling light, former British soldier Stuart
Repon-Ness stopped at the Seaside Signal oice to share his
story.
A British veteran from
Orford, England is running
his way from Seattle to San
Diego, 1,447 miles, to raise
awareness and money for two
charities close to his heart.
Stuart Repon-Ness, 35,
took a short break from his trek
along U.S. 101 and stopped
by the Seaside Signal ofice
Aug. 5. His goal that day was
to make it from Astoria to Arch
Cape and he was well on his
way as he arrived at the Signal
ofice about 11 a.m. just to say
“hi.”
Repon-Ness plans to com-
plete his West Coast journey
on foot in just 45 days, which
means he will be running on
average more than 32 miles per
day.
“I left Seattle last Saturday
(July 30) or at least I think it
was last Saturday; it’s hard to
keep track of the days,” he told
the Signal.
He served in the army as
a physical training instruc-
tor and was deployed in Iraq
and Kosovo before he left
the British military forces
in 2008. Coming back from
Iraq, Repon-Ness said he was
“a wreck” and that the British
charity Combat Stress really
helped him with his post-ser-
vice traumatic issues. The other
nonproit organization he looks
to help is an American one;
Homes For Our Troops, that
powered by
builds mortgage-free, specially
adapted homes for severely in-
jured post 9-11 veterans to help
rebuild their lives.
Initially, the plan was to
conduct his awareness run on
the East Coast, but the sum-
mertime weather on America’s
“left coast” was more to his lik-
ing, plus he has friends in Sac-
ramento who can lend support.
For the most part, the mar-
ried father of four will be com-
pleting his journey without a
support crew, making his trek
that much more challenging.
A vegan, who eats mainly
raw food, Repon-Ness says he
is not worried about keeping
his strength up along the way.
“The west coast of America
is like the vegan capital of the
world so I won’t have any prob-
lems with inding something to
eat,” he said in an interview
prior to his journey across the
Atlantic. “The best thing about
being vegan is the simplicity.”
As for running, he loves it
and it’s therapeutic.
If all goes according to plan,
Repon-Ness will arrive in San
Diego Sept. 13. To visit his
fundraising page and follow
his progress, visit stusrunning.
com.
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