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Study Session

Minutes
Monday, August 19, 2013

MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
Monday, August 19, 2013
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way

 
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:33 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room. 

 

Councilor Rosenthal, Voisin, Morris, Slattery, and Marsh were present.  Councilor Lemhouse was not present.
 
1.     Look Ahead review
City Attorney Dave Lohman reviewed items on the Look Ahead.
 
2.     Normal Avenue Neighborhood Plan update 
Item moved to the August 20, 2013 Council Meeting.
 
3.         Unified Land Use Ordinance project update 
Item moved to the August 20, 2013 Council Meeting.
 
4.     Discussion of proposed ordinance changes regarding short-term home rentals
Mayor Stromberg listed the legal ways to have short-term rentals in Ashland, starting with the definition of Hotel under Ashland Municipal Code (AMC) Chapter 18.08.320 as a building used to provide lodging for compensation and no provisions for cooking in the lodging rooms.  The code allowed hotels in commercial and employment zones, C-1 and E-1, required a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) found under AMC Chapter 18.104 with approval criteria under Section 18.104.050.  Motels were similar to Hotels in definition and CUP requirements.
 

AMC 18.08.795 defined travelerís accommodations as an establishment in a residential zone renting rooms or dwellings to travelers for a fee and less than thirty days.  The code allowed travelerís accommodations in residential zones R-2 and R-3 but not R-1.  Conditional uses for travelerís accommodations under AMC 18.24.030 R-2(K) required the business owner to reside on the property.  Each accommodation unit had one off-street parking space and two parking spaces for the owners in conformance with the Off-Street Parking section, along with appropriate business signage.  The total number of units was determined by dividing the total square footage of the lot by 1800 square feet (sq. ft.). The maximum number of units would not exceed nine for travelerís accommodations with primary lot frontage on arterial streets, seven for accommodations with primary lot frontage on designated collector streets, or accommodations not having primary frontage on an arterial and within 200-feet of an arterial.  The minimum area of the structure was 400 sq. ft. of gross interior floor space remaining per unit.  The primary residence on the site had to be at least 20 years old and could be altered and adapted for travelersí accommodation use. Transfer of business-ownership of a travelerís accommodation was subject to all the requirements and conformance of AMC 18.24.030. The travelerís accommodation property needed to be within 200 feet of a collector or arterial street.

 
City Attorney Dave Lohman explained the definitions established 20-30 years prior were difficult because they crossed several lines.  Bed and Breakfasts (B&Bs) were typically in R-2 and R-3 zones and could exist in C-1 and E-1 zones under the definition of Hotel if the owner went through the CUP process.  Community Development Director Bill Molnar added B&Bs in C-1 and E-1 zones were not subject to the within 200-feet from an arterial or collector requirement and had to pay TOT (Transient Occupancy Tax).  Bed and Breakfasts that did not offer meals still fell under the B&B category.
 
The City allowed vacation cottages with an owner onsite in R-2 and R-3 zones and vacation homes without an owner on site in C-1 and E-1 zones.  R-2 and R-3 zones required an owner onsite and C-1 and E-1 zones did not.  In addition, it was legal in R-2 and R-3 zones to have buildings where the owner resided and rented out rooms short-term, or the owner lived on the property and rented a stand-alone dwelling short-term.  This could apply to residential accessory units as well.  An owner could move into their accessory unit and rent out their home short-term if it was at least 20 years old.
 
Mayor Stromberg explained short-term home rentals (STHR) were legal in C-1 and E-1 zones with a CUP and not legal in R-1, R-2, or R-3 zones. Mr. Molnar explained staff conducted initial code compliance after reviewing several websites and compiled a list of 55-70 locations in town for short-term accommodations not approved by the City.  Approximately 70% were in the R-1 zoning district.  Staff sent out letters with a follow up letter to owners who did not respond and a citation if the owner failed to respond to the second notification.  Often neighbors documented activities occurring at the STHR and forwarded that information to the City.  In general, no one complies until the police issue a citation and the owner goes to court to answer the City on operating illegally.  In a recent action, the judge ruled not guilty because it was not clear a transaction had occurred.  Mr. Lohman noted the earlier provision proposed making advertising an illegal home rental a violation.  Currently only six STHRs out of compliance could come into compliance.
 
There were 2,100 parcels in the R-2 and R-3 zones eligible to become STHRs, 1,500 within the 200 feet of a major street.  The majority of accessory residential units were located in the R-1 zone.    
 
Councilor Morris was not in favor of anything that took away from long-term rentals, and did not support short-term rentals where the owner was not on site.  He thought the 20-year old house rule and the requirement to be within the 200 feet of an arterial or collector was arbitrary.  Councilor Slattery did not support non-owner occupied STHRs.  Councilor Rosenthal did not support expanding STHRs.  Councilor Marsh did not support expanding beyond the 200-foot parameter and would have supported some non-owner occupied permits within the current zone requirements with analysis a year later.  Councilor Voisin thought both the 200-foot rule and 20-year-old housing requirement were also arbitrary and suggested expanding the 200-foot rule to 400-500 feet.  She was open to both owner or non-owner occupied requirements.  Council majority wanted a separate Study Session to discuss R-1 while other comments included keeping R-1, R-2 and R-3 discussions together or the necessity of having a meeting when most likely Council would not approve opening the R-1 to STHRs.
 
Staff would re-write the ordinances, add definitions, fire inspection, business license information and an advertising provision for R-2 and R-3 zones for a future Council meeting along with the original code. At that time, Council would review the proposed changes and the Planning Commissionís recommendation.  Council would also have a Study Session regarding STHRs in the R-1 zone.
 
Meeting adjourned at 7:25 p.m.
 
 
 
Respectfully submitted,                                
Dana Smith
Assistant to the City Recorder
 
 

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