Yachats may cap vacation rental homes

Candy Neville, pictured at her vacation rental home in Yachats, has led an effort opposing a cap on the number of vacation rentals proposed by the Yachats City Council. (Photo by Cheri Brubaker)

YACHATS — Candy Neville purchased a vacation rental house in Yachats 21 years ago.

“It’s always been a vacation rental,” she said.

While Neville does have a vacation rental license, action being considered by the Yachats City Council would prohibit her from selling her vacation home with full property rights to a buyer. And her heirs would not be permitted to use the home as a vacation rental. 

There is currently a moratorium on new vacation rental licenses in Yachats, and the city council will vote today (Wednesday) on an ordinance that would permanently cap the number of licensed vacation rental houses at 125.

Neville said not only would this new ordinance decrease the pool of potential buyers for her home, it would decrease its value.

“We are a public domain doctrine state,” said Neville.  “A lot of effort was made to ensure that the beauty and integrity of Oregon was shared. I’m against restricting people’s property rights.”

That’s why Neville organized the Yachats Alliance, a group opposing the limit on licenses. She believes she and other out-of-area homeowners are not represented in Yachats.

“As a governing body, Yachats City Council has never asked for input,” she said. “They should ask the community. We [vacation rental owners] are more than 10 percent of the community but have no vote.”

Neville is an outspoken critic of Ordinance 347, mailing 880 letters to every property owner of record in Yachats on behalf of Yachats Alliance, calling attention to what she sees as the infringement on property rights and a threat to the value of her property and the business she built up over two decades of hosting visitors in Yachats.

Neville also said she resents the perspective that the housing crisis in Yachats is a vacation rental issue.

Neville said the proposed cap and the inability of anyone other than those currently holding a license to rent their home as a vacation rental “is a property issue that affects every property owner.

“That there is not adequate housing is the city’s problem to address,” added Neville. “Yachats has always been a place to vacation. We only have tourism and everything connected to it. Anyone is free to buy the homes on the market and make them affordable rentals or employee housing.”

 “It’s a difficult balancing act,” said Yachats City Councilor Leslie Vaaler about this issue. “We’re trying to maintain livability, not overtax staff and allow some vacation rentals. All the councilors understand that vacation rentals provide valuable revenue to the city and that many owners would like the option to use their property as a short-term rental.”

Yachats Mayor John Moore said, “Certainly, the vacation rental property owners and managers generally oppose a cap. And a significant number of permanent residents support keeping the cap. Neither position is a surprise.”

Councilor Max Glenn explained the concerns of local residents who support limiting vacation rental licenses. “The big concern is that we get people who are in single-family zones and are surrounded by vacation rentals. Our zoning is for single-family dwellings,” he said.

Glenn added, “Many residents who have bought a retirement home in an R1 single-family neighborhood find concerns about livability. They feel their neighborhood is being disrupted when surrounded by business operations with strangers coming on a regular basis.”

Vaaler said if the council imposes the permanent cap on vacation rentals, “we will be discussing a mechanism for a waiting list.”

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