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Comments about proposed vacation rental changes due April 20

Concerns about the impact of vacation rentals on neighborhoods - noise, speeding, trespassing, garbage, parking, privacy, water usage, - have resulted in proposed changes to San Juan County Unified Development Code.

The draft includes reducing the number of renters per bedroom from three to two, requiring a parking space for each bedroom, allowing an advertising sign, and adding an expiration date of five years to vacation rental permits.

According to Community Development Director Erika Shook there 964 permits for vacation rentals were issued countywide since 1990. Since 2000, vacation rental permits have been issued at an average of 51 per year. County staff estimate around 15 to 20 percent of vacation rentals advertised lack permits. 

The county Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on April 21, 2017 on the draft regulations. Public comments are due by April 20, 2017. They can be emailed to Erika Shook, Director of Community Development at erikas@sanjuanco.com or sent by regular mail to San Juan County Department of Community Development, PO Box 947, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, or delivered in person to 135 Rhone Street in Friday Harbor. 

The changes are shown below. The strikeout indicates language that is currently in the regulations and is being removed. The underlines indicate new language. The bolded text is all of the proposed regulation - existing language kept and new language added. 

For more information on the vacation rental regulations, including public comments received,  visit the Community Development website. 

Proposed Changes to San Juan County's Unified Development Code 18.40.270

Vacation (short-term) rentals of residences or accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

The following standards apply to all vacation (short-term; less than 30 days) rentals as defined in SJCC 18.20.020 of single-family residential units and accessory dwelling units or portions thereof:

A. Outside of urban growth areas, one vacation rental is allowed on a property, either in the principal residence or an accessory dwelling. Detached accessory dwelling units permitted on or after June 29, 2007 are not allowed to be vacation rentals. 

B. A. No more than three two (2) guests per bedroom shall be accommodated at any one time.

C. B The vacation rental of a principal residence or accessory dwelling unit shall be operated according to rules of conduct approved by the County in a way that will prevent the following unreasonable disturbances to area residents.

1. Trespassing

2. Noise or music that can be heard beyond the property boundaries between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.

3. Off-site parking issues, and

4. Vehicle speeds of higher than twenty 20 miles per hour (mph) on private paved roads and fifteen (15) mph on private non-paved roads.

D. Weekly solid waste collection service is required when occupied. Solid waster shall be stored outdoors within a fully screened and secured enclosure or completely indoors. 

E. Guests shall be made aware of the importance of water conservation. Best practices to conserve water shall be included in the rules of conduct. 

F.  C At least One additional off-street parking space shall be provided for each bedroom within the vacation rental use in addition to the parking required for the residence or accessory dwelling unit. 

G. D. If any food service is to be provided all of the requirements for a bed and breakfast residence must be met.

H. E. One sign up to two square feet in size is allowed. The sign may not be internally illuminated or made of reflective materials. It may contain only the name of the business and the hours of operation. No outdoor advertising signs are allowed.

F. The owner or a long-term lessee may rent either the principal residence or the accessory dwelling unit on a short-term basis (vacation rental), but not both.

G. Where there are both a principal residence and an accessory dwelling unit, the owner or long-term lessee must reside on the premises, or one of the living units must remain unrented.

H. In all activity center land use districts, rural residential, and conservancy land use districts, the vacation rental of a residence or accessory dwelling unit may be allowed by provisional (“Prov”) permit only if the owner or lessee demonstrates that the residence or accessory dwelling unit in question was used for vacation rental on or before June 1, 1997. When internal land use district boundaries are adopted for an activity center, this provision will apply to VR and HR districts but not to the activity center in general.

I. Vacation rental accommodations must meet all applicable local and state regulations, including those pertaining to business licenses and taxes such as Washington State sales, lodging and business and operation taxes.

J. Vacation rental permits shall expire five years after the date of approval unless a current certificate of compliance meeting the requirements of subsection (K) (5) of this section is maintained on file with the administrator.

K. J. Property owner responsibilities. All owners of property used for Owners of vacation rentals shall comply with this subsection. Owners of vacation rentals approved prior to the effective date of this ordinance are required to comply these requirements by March 31, 2018. All owners shall: 

1.  must Maintain an up-to-date property management plan on file with the administrator a 24-hour contact phone number and property owners withing three hundred (300) feet of the property boundaries. The property management plan must include the following: 

a. Rules of conduct approved by the county

b. Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number and the names and addresses of the property owner and agents authorized to act on the property owner's behalf

c. Emergency contact information

d. A valid telephone number for emergencies or complaints where the property owner or their designee can be reached 24 hours per day and 

e. A description of how the owner will enforce compliance with the terms and conditions of approval. 

2. K. Prominently post the The owner or lessee of the vacation rental shall provide notice to the tenants regarding rules of conduct and their responsibility not to trespass on private property or to create disturbances. and a map clearly depicting the property boundaries of the vacation rental. The map If there shall indicate if there is an easement that provides access to the shoreline, this shall be indicated on a map or if so the easement shall be marked; if there is no access, this shall be indicated together with a warning not to trespass.

3. Include the San Juan County permit number for the vacation rental in all advertisements and marketing materials such as brochures and websites. 

4. Schedule an annual fire and life safety inspection with the county fire marshal. Operation of the vacation rental is contingent upon maintaining a current fire and life safety certificate of inspection. The certificate of inspection shall be prominently posted on-site.

5. Certify compliance with subsections (A) through (K) of this section every five years from the date of approval and at the time of sale of the property. Written certification must be submitted to the department on forms specified by the administrator. 

L. Detached accessory dwelling units established under SJCC 18.40.240 cannot be separately leased or rented for less than 30 days. (Ord. 7-2006 § 8; Ord. 21-2002 § 5; Res. 145-1998; Ord. 2-1998 Exh. B § 4.19.3)


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