As the City Council and Planning Commission propose new changes to Seaside’s vacation rental dwelling rules, Ninth Avenue property owners Karen and Todd Van Horne sought to reverse a decision granting a conditional use request for a permit at 403 Ninth Ave.
They may have been just a little early with their appeal, as suggested limits remain in the city’s discussion phase. Their appeal was denied at the Tuesday, Oct. 1, meeting of the Planning Commission.
Homeowner Jerry Johnson received approval from the Seaside Planning Department on Aug. 2, with conditions including a compliance inspection, three off-street parking spaces and a limit of nine occupants, among others. The home is in the city’s high-density residential zone.
At the Planning Commission’s Sept. 3 meeting, the Van Hornes called the approval “excessive and beyond city guidelines,” and sought a reversal of the decision. They filed a formal appeal, bringing the matter before the commission again last Tuesday.
“The over-approval of conditional use permits violates the intent of zoning and as a result we are losing our community and neighborhoods in Seaside,” Todd Van Horne said at the meeting. “The intent of these permits was for occasional use, not businesses being established in high-density zoned neighborhoods.”
Van Horne said the city has “reached a tipping point” of too many VRDs. “We are out of balance on the backs and to the detriments of our residents.”
“Enough is enough,” Van Horne said, describing “numerous issues” with neighboring rentals, including loud parties, parking violations, garbage cans, and unresponsive management.
Owner Johnson said he and his wife bought the property not as a business, but as a potential retirement property. The home complies with the neighborhood’s VRD density and rental made it an “ideal way” to meet expenses.
“We loved the house, we loved the location,” Johnson said. “We decided to see if we could figure out a way to make it work.”
The city inspected the property, made a list of conditions, and he addressed all of these, he said. “We’ve met all the requirements required by the city,” Johnson said.
His driveway can “easily” handle four cars, although the permit only allows three.
“A well-run VRD can actually have a positive, not negative, effect on the community,” he added.
In voting to deny the appeal, commissioners determined the property at 403 Ninth Ave. had met the city’s requirements in issuing the permit.
The Van Hornes expressed their dismay at the outcome.
VRDs are “taking the soul out of our communities,” Karen Van Horne said. “At what point do you draw the line?”
The denial comes a day after a joint Planning Commission and City Council workshop, in which similar concerns came up for review.
On Oct. 14, the City Council will hear a proposal for a new, higher VRD license fee, and in upcoming meetings the Planning Commission will be considering an array of changes to the city’s rules, including VRD limits, contact information requirements and inspections. A compliance officer will be hired by the city for enforcement.
“Are we two seconds early?” Karen Van Horne asked after Tuesday’s vote.
Hoth said the commission was seeking “some kind of resolution” on the topic of VRDs.
“If there are legitimate problems — and sometimes there are — they’ll be addressed more specifically. And we’ll be discussing regulations that will limit the number that can be,” Hoth said. “As far as them going away, that’s probably not realistic.”