In 1998 under former City Manager Jerry Taylor, the City of Manzanita capped the number of Short Term Rentals (STR) at 17.5% of homes in residential zones. As our community has grown the number of STRs has also grown, especially in areas near the beach where STR density has affected neighborhood livability.
With the increasing number of visitors to our community, the Council established a STR Workgroup to identify key factors to address livability. The Workgroup did a survey, held public meetings, and engaged in discussions about how to best live comfortably with visitors in our neighborhoods. They made specific recommendations for managing noise, parking, overcrowded vacation rentals, and the response time for reported problems. The Council agreed with those recommendations and passed a major revision of the STR Ordinance 10-3 that provides the City with the tools to better manage STRs.
Considering the need to balance management of STRs with the current importance of STR tax revenue to the City’s financial viability, the Council implemented the recommendation to form a STR standing committee, only the third standing committee in the City. The other two standing committees are the Planning Commission and the Budget Committee.
In the April 6th meeting this year, the Council placed a 36-month moratorium to cap new STR licenses (230) in the residential zones. We will continue to consider solutions to address STR density. The financial dilemma facing the City is that because we have almost the lowest tax rate in the state, the City receives less than $226,000 per year from our property taxes. In contrast, VISITORS contribute $1,200,000 in revenue (53% of the General Fund) by paying the STR tax.
It is vital for us to continue to manage STRs, knowing that this tourist lodging tax contributes significantly to our budget. A priority for the upcoming Council is to determine if there are other revenue sources that could lessen our reliance on STRs.
I feel strongly that STR management is vital for the livability of our community, and I look forward to continuing this important work. I am asking for your vote on November 8.