LETTER: STRs

I am writing in response to Peter Segall’s Jan. 27 article which overlooked two critical pieces of information presented at the Jan. 24 Planning Commission meeting on STRs.

Many STR owners speaking said they were given the green light by city staff and officials to open in zones that the previously unenforced 2017 code bans.

I shared with the commission an email my Realtor received from Nathan West, then director of CED, just months after the 2017 code was written.

I was purchasing a fixer-upper that I hoped to turn into an STR, and my Realtor inquired, then provided me with the following email:

“I wanted to share in writing that the city does not enforce against VRBOs and will be considering code changes to further allow for VRBOs in the next two years.” - Nathan West, June 2017

I see this as negating the 2017 code that barred STRs from low- and mixed-density residential zones and gave me the confidence to invest well over $150,000 into a seriously blighted property that is now beautiful and appreciated by my neighbors.

In a second paragraph in the letter, which did not specifically refer to this property, West indicated that properties can be grandfathered in by saying, “the residence has been operating as a VRBO since at least 2013 and should be considered a pre-existing use relative to any future code changes.”

Last year, after receiving a cease-and-desist letter, I was forced to close.

I now face a significant loss of income.

A second, and equally critical, element was the commission’s discussion that the 2017 STR code should be replaced with more-thoughtful regulation that allows STRs across all residential zones as part of the 2025 comprehensive plan.

This is the path the city council needs to pursue.

David Squires

Port Angeles