San Juan Islands Vacation Rental Forum Wednesday June 9

Contributed Photo/Alex Block on Unsplash.

From San Juan Islands Community Network

The number of vacation rentals in the San Juans has been a contentious issue in the county over the past few years.

Letters to the Editor of local news outlets presented a divided community on the viability, use and number of vacation rentals throughout the islands.

In an effort to provide a greater understanding of the issue and seek workable solutions, the San Juan Island Community Network is conducting a series of three Zoom forums that begin Wednesday, June 9.

The forums will focus on discovery June 9; common ground June 17; and collaborative action June 24. All sessions are free, and accessible through zoom. They will also be live-streamed on Facebook and Instagram.

Over the years, accusations have been made that have inflamed the situation. Many unanswered questions about the county’s intentions, and efforts to find common ground-based solutions continue to frustrate islanders.

Questions like:

  1. How do vacation rentals affect the local economy?
  2. What can neighbors do to deal with problems created by vacation renters?
  3. Where is the data necessary to make wise decisions, who is responsible for collecting the data, and when will it be available for all islanders to review?

The June 9 forum, entitled “Discovery,” will focus on the facts, feelings and positions of members of the island community.

Moderated by Michael Soltman and Diane Craig, panelists for the first forum include Lopezian Jan Scilipoti of Hosting on the Rock, an advocacy group for owners of vacation rental property; Toby Cooper from the Vacation Rental Working Group, a fourth-generation Orcasonian concerned about the proliferation and impact of vacation rentals on the islands; San Juan Councilmember Jaime Stevens who, along with council members Christine Minney and Cindy Wolf are responsible for evaluating and monitoring vacation rental permitting in the San Juans; and Doug Whittaker, who has conducted exhaustive research on tourism and the impact of vacation rentals on communities.

The network recognizes that the issues surrounding vacation rentals are interconnected with other issues that islanders face, now and in the future.

“Issues such as housing, including affordable housing; the environmental capacity of the islands, especially as it relates to water; island economies, and the need for diversification also need to be explored,” said Larry Greene, SJICN co-founder. “The Vacation Rentals Forum series is a beginning.”

To learn more about the Vacation Rentals Forums and to register, visit

Posted on June 6, 2021 at 5:30 am by

Categories: Business, Community, Education
One comment:

One comment...

  1. Question 2, which asks: “What can neighbors do to deal with problems created by vacation renters,” raises questions for us.

    What about guests having to deal with problems caused by neighbors?

    We have had a vacation rental since 2001 and have not had a single complaint from a neighbor.

    On the other hand, we recently refunded rent to guests who complained of activity at a near-by home that was so disturbing they couldn’t use the yard and had to stay inside and close the windows.

    We have also observed that it is never our guests who speed on our road.

    The regulations that apply to vacation rental guests (quite time, minimum age requirements, maximum occupancy), are more restrictive than those of home owners associations or County residents in general.

    In our experience, we have seen better behavior from pur guests than we have from the population as a whole.

    Comment by Victor and Phebe Smith on June 8, 2021 at 10:08 am

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