Clackamas County Considering Regulations for Short-Term Rentals in Unincorporated Areas

Clackamas County is considering a first draft of proposed regulations that would allow, but also set certain restrictions for, short-term and vacation rental properties in unincorporated parts of the county.

The draft was presented to the Board of Commissioners earlier this month, but the commission decided after brief discussion that they needed more time and information to make a decision. The matter was reset for another hearing, which is expected to take place next month.

The regulations were drafted at commissioners’ request because of the increasing number of Clackamas County residents who use their homes for short-term or vacation rentals. As things currently stand, the business of short-term rentals is a bit of a gray area right now, as county Planning Director Jennifer Hughes explains.

County staff attended seven community meetings in May-June 2019 to talk with the public about whether short-term rentals should be regulated and, if so, what specific items should be included. The overwhelming consensus from attendees was that short-term rentals should be allowed but, not surprisingly, the opinions on how they should be regulated was considerably more mixed.

While short-term and vacation rentals are becoming increasingly popular sources of additional income for homeowners, spurred by the success of online marketplaces like Airbnb, Hughes says they can also cause trash, noise, parking and other nuisance issues for neighboring property owners.

The noise issue, along with access for emergency responders, were top considerations for Commissioner Ken Humberston.

Commissioner Paul Savas said that, while he agrees short-term rentals should be permitted and regulated in Clackamas County, he urged caution on the types and levels of regulation the board considers, particularly in comparison to long-term rentals.

To see the draft regulations, or to hear the complete audio from the Aug. 6 meeting, visit the county’s website at clackamas.us/planning/str.

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