A conversation about vacation rentals | Letter

A diverse group of Orcas residents has been gathering information about the extent and trends of vacation rentals on Orcas Island, San Juan County and other communities nationally and internationally.

Currently, there is no limit on the number of vacation rentals in San Juan County, and permits convey with the sale of a property. Unlike official businesses like bed and breakfasts, hotels and resorts, licensing constraints are minimal for vacation rentals.

The majority of owners of vacation rental properties (51%) do not live in San Juan County. We wonder if these are residential or commercial properties. We’d like to know more about how vacation rentals impact affordable housing, the composition of our community, the costs of infrastructure, environmental quality and our quality of life. And we’re exploring the measures that other communities have enacted to accommodate/include vacation rentals.

Please join us on Wednesday, July 17, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the public school cafeteria for a Community Conversation about vacation rentals. At the gathering, information will be provided, and there will be time for questions and answers from our community. We hope to arrive at a way for Orcas Island to move forward with a constructive conversation about this critical issue.

Yonatan Aldort, Janet Alderton, Jennifer Barcelos, Lisa Byers, Andrea Cohen, Toby Cooper, Andrew Hursh, Michael Johnson, Artha F. Kass, Mark Mayer, Gregory Oaksen, Heather Dew Oaksen, Margaret Payne, Donna Gerardi Riordan, Joe Symons

Orcas Island