Friends of the San Juans' Staff Attorney, Jennifer Barcelos, will be sharing her research on the social and environmental impacts of vacation rentals around the world at the Vacation Rental Working Group's Community Conversation set for 12 noon to 2 p.m. February 29, 2020 at the San Juan Island Grange.
County's 2018 Vacation Rental location map
The Vacation Rental Working Group - started on Orcas Island - has held a series of meetings on Orcas Island and Lopez Island about the proliferation of vacation rentals in the San Juan Islands. The mission of the Vacation Rental Work Group is to mobilize the community to regulate vacation rentals in a manner that protects the rural character, environment, and culture in the San Juan Islands.
In December 2019, the VRWG submitted a letter to County Council containing recommended regulatory actions to deal with the impact of vacation rentals. About 2,600 petition signers have ask the County to impose a moratorium now in order to give ourselves the time and space needed to seek solutions.
At the February 29 meeting, Toby Cooper, the Vice President of the Friends Board of Directors, will be discussing some of the vacation rental-related quality of life issues that impact local residents.
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I can't attend the meeting, but I want to have a voice in this. Our family could not have survived the economic crash of 2009-12, if we were not ale to rent out our house as a vacation rental in the summer to cover the taxes and the mortgage. A property is an "Asset" and to not be able to use that "Asset" is a hardship that has to be considered. It is taking away property rights and the right to have economic survivability.Report
The other issue is having families be able to all vacation together. I think this is an import service to provide, as a community. We are a tourist based economy, besides construction and real estate. It is an important service to be able to provide a family to stay in one house and hang out all together, instead of being in 4 separate hotel rooms all spread out. And with kids, it is vital to have a kitchen to prepare meals.
I would hate to see the "Not on my Island" voices, drown out the rational needs of others to be able to rent out their properties for short term vacation renters. Please do not put any more restrictions on Vacation Rentals and please continue to allow more permits. Please do not take away a permit upon sale of the house! This is actually a selling point for many home buyers, if there is already a valid Vacation Rental Permit.
Thank you for your time in reading and considering another side. May sanity prevail and all unite in peace and protecting property rights.