Letters to the editor

Three candidates running for Manzanita City Council, Scott Galvin for Mayor and Randy Kugler and Jerry Spegman for Council, are proposing a major policy change in how the City administers the Short Term Rental (STR) industry in our City. Rather than continue to allow the number of residential STRs to continue to increase under the current 17.5% allotment based on the number of residential dwellings that grows over time as new housing is built, we would propose a hard cap on the 268 rental units now in existence. We are soliciting citizen feedback on this issue as we campaign and would seek additional input from citizens before making any final decision should we be elected.

The present 17.5% policy was established in the 1990’s and was created at a time when STR activity was totally unregulated and a more informal activity by individual home owners than the “industry” that it continues to evolve into. We support the necessary work of the City STR Workgroup to improve program details of how the activity is administered and enforced to mitigate negative impacts in the neighborhoods in which they are located but this citizen group to date has not received this proposed policy direction from the Mayor and Council to consider as a part of their final recommendations.

We are troubled by the City survey on STRs now being conducted which in its preamble notes “We have extremely low property taxes in Manzanita, and this percentage cannot be changed. Thus, short-term rental taxes account for the majority of the city’s budget and are a necessary part of our city economy.” We view this issue as a quality of life matter for our full time and regular part time homeowners and the messaging of this statement implies that there may be negative consequences to City services should the continued growth of this income stream be interrupted. Sacrificing this valued experience to grow the City budget in order to provide necessary City services is a tradeoff that we believe is best solved with a new approach to the fiscal management of the funds currently received by the City.

We ask for your feedback on this issue. If you wish to see this and other changes that we are advocating for then it requires all three of us to be elected to achieve a majority voice on Council decisions. We respectfully ask for that support in the November election.

Randy Kugler Scott Galvin Jerry Spegman

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