The City of Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Commission is scheduled to hear public comments on Tuesday, April 22, between 6 and 9 p.m. at 1900 S.W. 4th Ave., Suite 2500A, following the March release of a second draft of proposed regulations on less-than-30-day rentals, currently considered under the hotel/motel regulations.
While the City moves forward on what it calls a “minor” amendment, allowing short-term rentals (STRs) in residential neighborhoods, the Rose City Park Neighborhood Association (RCPNA) board has asked City planners to remove the proposal from the latest regulation update and take more time to discuss the proposal more widely with neighbors. According to board member Tamara DeRidder, “RCPNA does not agree that allowing the short term rental of 1-2 bedrooms of all residential homes is ‘minor’ and has asked the city to remove this item from the process to allow the community a broader discussion on the issues.”
DeRidder told the Star that RCPNA believes exceptions to residential zoning should be by permission rather than by right with use allowed only through adjacent neighbor input such as in a Home Occupation application. She said the RCPNA also sees the proposal lowering the quality of life and impacting equity of surrounding neighbors, because it would frequently permit strangers to live in residential neighborhoods in a motel-type environment with no notice or means of recourse. DeRidder added that the proposed change would not be minor because it would threaten the availability and stability of long-term rental properties in the R-5 zone, because short-term rentals would be more lucrative.
RCPNA further recommended discussions on stability and equity issues and suggested an approval process requiring 80 percent support by adjacent neighbors for approval, an on-site residential caretaker for the duration of every short-term rental period and that short-term rental owners provide annual printed information for adjacent neighbors regarding complaint/contact information and proposed ground rules for use of the rental site (including items such as smoking, parking, etc.). The neighborhood association would also like to see an annual fee imposed, annual neighbor review for all STRs so that majority neighbor opposition to the STR could stop and/or deny continuance of the use, as well as a Good Neighbor Agreement involving the neighborhood association and adjacent neighbors of the short-term rental site.
DeRidder is encouraging research into the STR issue and how it will affect Portland’s residential neighborhoods. She claimed the www.AirBnB.com corporation has hired four lobbyists in the Portland campaign who have spoken to each City commissioner. “I am all for a sharing society, rental libraries, and reuse in a society that has built itself on the attainment of stuff, but,” DeRidder cautioned, “let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water by allowing short-term rentals unrestricted access to our neighborhoods.”