Words matter

When short-term rental houses were licensed, the county assured enforcement. “Strikes” would be given.  

Ordinance wording used “complaints,” not violations. Without patrolling, local residents became complainer vs. people, responsible for reporting violations.  

Since 2016, public statements include “overrun by frivolous complaints,” “a small group of angry people complaining.” At public meetings, county officials say “complaint” when referring to rental violations. Words matter.    

Policies and procedures for short-term rental violations never materialized. County personnel’s focus of facilitating initial, renewal and rapidly increasing short-term rental licensing remains with “under the table rentals” unchecked.    

Last year, a full time “deputized” officer was hired, given uniform and car. Also, a software program was purchased. This program’s goal seems to be managing licensing, and finding unlicensed rentals advertised via internet. A violation can be reported if you click on “complaints,” such as  "under the table" rentals. Without consequences, they’re increasing as owners deny they are renting.      

Little to no patrolling continues. Sheriff calls find dispatchers, and on duty deputies, often with lack of knowledge, requiring an explanation of what a short-term rental is and why they are being called. Then it can take hours before sheriff’s personnel arrive. The deputy must witness a violation, is unable to take testimony or date/ time-stamped proof of illegal fireworks or drunken arguments that stopped an hour ago. Sometimes deputies never arrive. Violations go unpunished because of law enforcement restrictions. Investigations go undone.

In over four years, no “strikes” have been issued.

The system tilts toward people using houses in single-family residential zones for profit. Local county residents are called complainers.   

Words matter  

Ardys Schimmel

Gleneden Beach


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