Hearing on tourist homes May 1

Kirk Boxleitner kboxleitner@ptleader.com
Posted 4/4/17

The public has a chance to weigh in on proposed revisions to short-term rental regulations at 6:30 p.m., Monday, May 1, when the Port Townsend City Council is set to conduct a hearing on the …

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Hearing on tourist homes May 1

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The public has a chance to weigh in on proposed revisions to short-term rental regulations at 6:30 p.m., Monday, May 1, when the Port Townsend City Council is set to conduct a hearing on the subject.

City Planning Director Lance Bailey addressed the remaining areas that the council had asked city staff to consider, starting with “tourist homes,” which are currently defined as the primary residence for owners, with no more than two bedrooms for rent to guests staying fewer than 29 days.

Bailey reiterated that city staff recommended that the ban on kitchens in tourist homes be retained, but that microwaves and mini-refrigerators not be counted as “kitchens.” He added that city staff recommended against prohibiting separate entrances for the tourist homes’ guest spaces, given the number of existing tourist homes that include separate entrances as a feature.

Deputy Mayor Catharine Robinson suggested that the regulation of separate entrances could offer another enforcement opportunity, but Bailey noted that the city had never regulated this in the past.

When council member Bob Gray asked what would happen to nonconforming tourist homes that were legally grandfathered in, Bailey elaborated that those tourist homes would be limited in the further changes they could make. City attorney Steve Gross added those homes would lose their grandfather status if they were out of operation for 365 consecutive days or more.

During the public comment period, Peter Quinn, who maintains a vacation rental, suggested the city adopt an approach more like Stephen Covey’s “green and clean” rule. Covey, the author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” told his children that, as long as the yard was green and clean, he wouldn’t tell them how to maintain it.

“It’s one thing to be regulated, but with too much regulation, you lose continuity,” Quinn said.

Mayor Deborah Stinson agreed with council member Michelle Sandoval that the city officials’ ongoing dialogue about these regulations could well continue into the May 1 public hearing.

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