The Brookings City Council decided Monday that the issue of vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods needed to be further addressed.
By a 5-0 vote, the council referred the issue to the citys planning commission, which will meet Aug. 7.
City Manager Leroy Blodgett reported to the council that a committee appointed by Mayor Bob Hagbom had recommended no action be taken on the vacation rental issue.
They spent a lot of hours discussing and reviewing the issue, he said, but on a 3-2 vote they sent us a no-action recommendation.
Blodgett said the real question was what is the definition of a vacation rental.
He said city ordinances do not specifically address the issue.
The city manager then said the staff was recommending that the council take no action on the issue at this time.
Its a land-use issue, he said. It should probably have gone to the planning commission in the first place.
Instead of the council doing anything at this time, Im recommending you forward it to the planning commission, so they can in turn forward a recommendation back to the council.
Its normal procedure in a land-use issue.
Councilman Larry Curry said the planning commission was the right group to review the issue.
It should have gone to the planning commission, he said. We need to put it in the hands of those dealing with land issues.
Hagbom admitted the planning commission should have reviewed the issue first.
I agree with the city manager that we should have done this before, he said. If we erred, you need to remember we do make mistakes.
Resident Don Nuss suggested that city staff might be the right group to put together a solution.
I think it is up to the city manager and the planning staff to come up with an ordinance, he said. They could get input from the vacation rental owners and review other similar ordinances, and then forward it to the planning commission.
Someday Brookings will have to have a vacation rental ordinance.
Blodgett responded that since it was a land-use issue, it needed to go to the planning commission first.
Brookings resident Michael Thornton was critical of how the issue was being addressed, that it was unclear what the issue really is.
I think you are operating under a misconception, he told the council.
The issue is not about all vacation rentals. The issue is about short-term vacation rentals.
Before sending it to the planning commission you need to make that clear.
Barbara Nysted, who lives next to a vacation rental and originally brought the issue before the council, was unhappy with how she was being perceived.
When I researched the issue myself I came up with a different opinion (than the city), she said. No one has invited me to sit down and discuss this. Not Mr. (John) Bischoff (planning director). No one did.
When I approached the city initially, I did it totally impersonally. I did it in a professional manner. I havent been treated well by the council or committee.
Yes, I was the person who brought the complaint to the city, but Im not the only one who has a problem.
Nysted said her view has been misrepresented.
The one thing that keeps coming up that bothers me is that I never asked for a ban on vacation rentals, she said. I wanted the city to look at the development code and realize what is going on next to me that shouldnt be going on.
But it can go on in other places than in a R-1 (residential) zone. Im not opposed to vacation rentals, just in the right places.
In other business, the council approved giving the local chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America a donation to help purchase equipment for its annual Fourth of July fireworks display.
Blodgett said the group was asking for $600 to purchase 100 mortar tubes.
He said the veterans needed to act immediately to secure the tubes at the reduced price of $1,200.
The city manager added that the organization was requesting a similar donation from the Port of Brookings Harbor.
Hagbom suggested that if the council wanted to make the donation, it should come out of the annual $750 donation the city makes toward the event.
Councilman Rick Dentino said the fireworks display was a worthy cause, but agreed with the mayors suggestion.
I think we have supported them well the past few years, he said. I like a good fireworks display.
But we have only so many dollars to give out for so many needs.
The council approved the request for the $600 donation with the stipulation that next years donation be adjusted to reflect that amount.
In addressing another council agenda item, Blodgett said that the issue of the display of goods and signs outdoors in Brookings really didnt need a special committee. According to present city ordinance, the displays are banned.
We said we would form a committee to study the issue, he said, but I would recommend instead of forming a committee just assigning the duty to the downtown master plan committee once it is formed.
It would fit with what they will be trying to do.
The council agreed to go with Blodgetts recommendation.
The council will next meet Monday, Aug. 13 in the council chambers at city hall.
The public is welcome to attend and participate in all council meetings.