Businesses Write Open Letter Against Vacation Rental Moratorium
Posted March 7, 2021 at 5:30 am by Hayley Day
The following is an open letter to the San Juan County Council from dozens of San Juan Island businesses, including Mike’s Café and Wine Bar, San Juan Hostel, Crystal Seas Kayaking, Island Pets, On Point Barber Shop and more.
Dear San Juan County Council,
We are strongly opposed to the moratorium that you have recently enacted on new vacation rental applications for the following reasons:
Less than three years ago San Juan County Council adopted updated vacation rental standards with Ordinance 02–2018. (18.40.275 of the Unified Development Code). Within this ordinance are “rules of conduct” that address environmental impacts, safety, noise, trespass, a required 24/7 local representative for each VR and public health.
There are “teeth” in the ordinance if there is non-compliance (paragraph J): “Vacation rental permits vested or approved after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this section shall expire two years after the date of approval unless the annual certificates of compliance meeting the requirements of subsection (K)(4) of this section are on file with the administrator.
Clearly, the county council, planning staff and the planning commission put a lot of thought into creating an enforceable set of standards to manage potential impacts from the VR businesses.
Ord. 02–2018 requires that a VR application goes through the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) process. Under the former rules, VRs could be permitted under a much easier “Provisional Use Permit”. The CUP process can be lengthy and expensive. There is ample opportunity for public comment and an appeal process. In fact, it is not a given that a VR applicant will be successful in getting through the existing process. We feel there has been no justification for the County Council to have adopted the Vacation Rental Moratorium.
We, as San Juan Island business owners, have all struggled together through the historic COVID-19 pandemic. We have been told “we are all in this together.” We strongly feel that you as our county council, by enacting the Moratorium on Vacation Rental applications, has acted in a damaging and unnecessary manner in the midst of an already difficult time for most island businesses.
We respectfully ask you to REPEAL the vacation rental moratorium immediately. We need our elected officials to support local businesses and jobs!
Crystal Seas Kayaking, San Juan Property Management, Wes Edholm Photography Spring Street Deli, Island Boat Rental, San Juan Excursions, Maya Legacy Whale Watching Tucker House / Harrison Suites, Haley’s Sports Bar and Grill, Appliance Repair by Bruce Starr Excavating and Septic, Starr Excavating and Septic, DNR Consulting LLC, Snug Harbor Marina and Resort, Sears Hometown Store Friday Harbor, A1 Mobile Lock and Key, Island Heating and Mechanical, San Juan Safaris Mike’s Café and Wine Bar, Island Heating and Mechanical, Inter Island Propane Island Roots, San Juan Island Outfitters, Northwest Plumbing and Waterworks, King Realty, Inc. Deer Hazel, Island Pets, Island Life Concierge, Isles Tiles, D.A. West Inc. Be Chic Boutique, Lorne Paulsen Construction, Lorne Paulsen Construction, The Bait Shop Wild West Dec LLC, KAVU, Transformation Church, 40 Spring Street LLC, Harvey’s Excavating 1027 LLC, West Valley Holdings LLC, On Point Barber Shop, Mike Carlson Enterprises, Inc. China Pearl, Downriggers Restaurant, San Juan Island Hostel, Sunshine Laundry, Blue Water Grill
You can support the San Juan Update by doing business with our loyal advertisers, and by making a one-time contribution or a recurring donation.