Members of the Seaside Planning Commission issued a probationary period to property owners Kelly and Jon Norling through Labor Day at their vacation rental dwelling at 441 16th Avenue.
The Norlings could face revocation of their permit or other limitations, commissioners unanimously determined in their compliance review.
The decision came Tuesday night after repeated complaints from neighbor Bonnie Woodman of parking violations, loud parties, barking dogs and excessive occupancy at the 16th Avenue property.
She referred to the home as “the monster house,” or the “frat house,” because of the numerous complaints people had but were “too afraid to come before the council.”
Woodman was joined at the meeting by community members who shared her views and showed support for the probationary period. Woodman asked commissioners to put the house under a one-year probation and to review vacation rental rules used by other cities.
Woodman asked the commissioners to change VRD rules in the future to enhance enforcement.
“It’s going to happen. It’s not going to stop,” Woodman said. “I need help, and I need you to back it up. If I have to I will get the list of 320 VRDs and I will go door-to-door and I will get a petition and get other people to back me up when it comes to VRD rules.”
The property in north Seaside was originally approved as a vacation rental dwelling in 2007, with a maximum occupancy of nine people over age three in the existing four-bedroom dwelling.
In a thick binder of complaints, Woodman described noxious vegetation, an unmowed lawn, noise, loud music, barking dogs, “hot tub shenanigans,” and “verbal abuse” from vacation rental guests.
Woodman, who has sent her concerns to the Signal, Gov. Kate Brown, State Sen. Betty Johnson and Seaside City Council members, said when she asked visitors to the vacation rental home to be quiet, they ignored her, used profanity and “even mooned me.”
“I live next to there,” Woodman said. “It’s a nightmare. It’s zoned for nine occupants. I count 10, 11, 12. Let these people be responsible for what they’re doing.”
In a letter to the Planning Commission, neighbor Kristi Coulter said she had experienced “loud, drunk, hostile renters,” and a problem of outdoor parties in the hot tub over many years.
“Quiet and peaceful enjoyment of our home is no longer possible,” she wrote.
Attorney Christian Zupancic speaks on behalf of Kelly and Jon Norling at the May 6 Planning Commission meeting.
But the Norlings, attorney Christian Zupancic and property manager Erin Barker said owners have responded to all complaints in a timely manner.
Jon Norling said 95 percent of the complaints were parking complaints, all of them rectified within “a couple of hours” after notification.
“It’s easy to make allegations; it’s hard to substantiate them,” Kelly Norling said. “I would like to remedy this. I’m interested in keeping the house as a rental, and for use of our family.”
Norling said she is proactive in sharing the home’s rental rules, especially parking limits, on listing sites, via email to renters and with posted notices on the premises.”
“I remind them, this is a big deal,” she said. “You may not park on the street. I barrage them with warnings.”
“I’ve done my level best to try to communicate with the neighbors, let them know what my phone number is, let them know I’m responsive,” Barker added. “I let them know if there’s an issue I will deal with it.”
Norling said she and her husband had received only one complaint until 2015, when Woodman moved next door. All the complaints have been since then, she said, “primarily or solely from her,” and are driven by a “personal vendetta.”
Barker suggested Woodman has “a different level of sensitivity to things.”
“She’s a hypersensitive person, and I can appreciate it,” Barker said. “I respect that. Everybody has a different level of sensitivity.”
In coming to a decision to institute a permit probation period, Planning Commission Chairman Chris Hoth asked commissioners to consider the “letter of the law” and the “spirit of the law.”
Rules are created to solve these problems, he said, “not to be draconian or to punish.”
Hoth asked for a solution “that’s fair for both parties.”
Commission members supported Planning Director Kevin Cupples’ recommendation of a probationary period.
During that time, city staff will track and log all complaints received with a written response. The owners will be required to provide a rental log that indicates the days the vacation rental dwelling is rented, and the number of occupants staying in the home during each rental period.
Conditions must be met so commissioners can monitor the situation and “see what’s going around there, Hoth said.
If violations are documented, the owners could be subject to a reduced occupancy rate or revocation of their vacation dwelling permit.
“We will of course continuing discussing the issue of vacation rentals and rules and their impact on the city,” Hoth said.
A joint City Council and Planning Commission work session will be scheduled after budget season, Cupples added.