Time for input on short-term rental changes is now

A much-debated topic that has generated considerable controversy in Lincoln County is coming to a head. On Wednesday, April 7, at 6 p.m., the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners will hold a virtual public workshop — via Zoom — to gather input on proposed changes to the county code involving short-term rentals.

The discussion to tighten up regulations on STRs actually began quite some time ago, but it was put on hold while the county dealt with the more pressing matters of the COVID-19 pandemic and, later, the wildfires in the north part of the county.

Things are back on track now, and the county commissioners say they plan to adopt the code amendments in May. But first, they will be accepting comments from their constituents. We believe public input is one of the most critical elements in the decision-making process for any government entity, and we encourage all concerned to make their voices heard on this issue.

Some of the major changes being proposed include new limits on occupancy for STRs, a requirement for regular on-site inspections of septic systems and new procedures for addressing complaints. Our county commissioners need to hear where people stand on these issues.

As we’ve said before, it’s a delicate balance between the rights of property owners — both STR owners and their full-time resident neighbors — and the livability of the neighborhoods where these STRs are located.

The county commissioners are committed to hearing what people have to say on this topic, and they will hold a second workshop if necessary. Additional information, as well as a registration link to offer comments during the workshop, can be found online at tinyurl.com/jmzmenre.

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In other news this week, Lincoln County was given the green light by the Oregon Health Authority to begin COVID vaccinations for Group 7, and they began vaccinating front-line workers five days ahead of the state schedule.

The cooperative effort between county agencies, health care providers, emergency responders and other volunteers gave Lincoln County the second highest vaccination rate in the state this week, and we say congratulations to all those who have been working tirelessly to make this happen.

As more and more people become eligible for vaccinations, time slots for those shots will be in high demand. We urge everyone to be patient, but persistent in scheduling your appointments. The county is focused on getting shots in arms as quickly as possible to slow the spread of the disease, and we believe this is a critical step in returning to “normal” life.