Friday, May 11, 2012

Lincoln City, Oregon sets up VRD Consensus Project


Lincoln City, Oregon has been fighting about the role of vacation rentals in their community for years.  The small city of about 8000 people on the central Oregon coast depends on tourism to support import segments of its economy, but some local residents feels that short term rental homes in residential neighborhoods are still a problem.

In an effort to resolve the ongoing dispute, and temporarily move the issue out of city hall, the mayor decided to hire a "consensus builder" to work with community members on the issue.  The mayor's initiative represents a true opportunity for community members and vacation rental owners, if the community rises to the occasion and if local politics don't get in the way of the process.

The city hired "consensus builder"  Richard Birke, a professor from nearby Portland, to lead the effort.  Professor Birke will convene a group of 16 to 20 people who will meet 8 times over the summer, and then generate recommendations for the city council in September 2012.  The group consists of hotel/motel owners, VR owners, property managers, local business representatives and local residents.  The meetings are open to the public, and a public comment period is available at some of the meetings.

In a letter to the city council last fall, the local vacation home association pointed out that the group structure did not allow for equal representation of vacation rental owners, and that putting businesses that directly compete with vacation rentals into the work group was not appropriate.  They expressed the concern that the group structure favored the business interests of one group over another.

It remains to be seen whether the VRD Consensus Project will ultimately produce a useful recommendation about the future of VRDs in Lincoln City.  

The first meeting takes place on 5/15/12.

For more information, Go to the city's VRD Consensus Project Web Page.

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