Oregon Coast Alliance Newsletter

  Making the STR Problem Worse and Other News

STR’s in Clatsop County: Hearing April 13 before Board of Commissioners

Tillamook County Approves Treehouse Campground; Appeal Hearing April 25
STR’s in Clatsop County: Hearing April 13 before Board of Commissioners
Waves and Trees in Clatsop County, image courtesy of ORCA
The Clatsop County planning commission held its hearing on the future of short term rentals (STRs) in Clatsop County. They knew the Board of Commissioners wants to fling the door open wide and allow STRs in all residential zones. But the planning commission actually listened to the frantic communities that are being inundated by STRs, and made sensible recommendations to deal with the burgeoning of these rentals: allow them only in rural commercial and multifamily residential zones countywide. Existing permits outside those zones would not be able to renew them upon expiration. The planning commission also recommended capping the maximum number of STRs in each zone, and requiring a hearing on any proposal to grant an STR permit.

These recommendations are the opposite of what the Board of Commissioners wants to impose on county residents. The first Board of Commissioners hearing on STR ordinance changes is Wednesday April 13th at 5:00 pm. If you live in rural Clatsop County, outside an incorporated city, this concerns you! How many STRs would you like in your rural neighborhood? Send comments to [email protected]
Tillamook County Approves Treehouse Campground; Appeal Hearing April 25
Treehouse Partners LLC Property. Courtesy Tillamook County
The Tillamook County planning commission in early March approved the Treehouse Partners campground on Sandlake Road, just opposite the rural community of Tierra del Mar. The campground will have nineteen sites on a 58-acre property. Instead of seriously weighing the problems with the site, and with allowing a major “glamping" business in this very rural area, the planning commission simply required that all other relevant agencies provide permits. But land use decision-making is more than a box check-off exercise; the planning commission is required to consider the suitability of the site given its topography, and the potential problems with septic, with other uses on surrounding properties, and with nearby communities. 

The planning commission did not do any of that; they did not even require a wetland delineation for a property known to have many wetlands. With four cabins, six tent camping areas, nine owner-provided camping tents on decks, and 26 parking spaces (all as mentioned in the application), this could easily add up to some forty people camping at any given time. The stress on Sandlake Road, septic facilities, water supply, roads and other infrastructure, and groundwater, will be substantial.

We get tired of repeating what counties often seem to willfully forget: the burden of proof that their development proposal meets all requirements is on the applicant. The county cannot just rubberstamp a vague, colorless, simplistic application; they are obligated to ensure the applicant provides the required information; and the applicant must know the burden of proof is on them.

The planning commission’s failure to grapple with the problems in this application led to a Tierra del Mar resident appealing the decision to the Board of Commissioners. The hearing before the Board of Commissioners will be April 25, 2022 at 8:30 AM. Please send testimony by April 24 to Lynn Tone, [email protected] on this proposal.
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