Over 100 people attended the Oct. 23 community meeting on vacation rentals held in the school cafeteria. The meeting focused primarily on how to move forward in addressing the issue of unlimited vacation rental growth. At the Sept. 25 community meeting a strong sentiment was expressed by those present for a moratorium on vacation rentals that would allow time to explore a regulatory framework. To achieve this goal it was proposed that direct action by the community would require engagement with county government. Participants were invited to write letters to the county council as well as to give testimony at county council meetings to encourage a moratorium.
The Vacation Rental Work Group addressed their goals moving forward, emphasizing that potential new regulations are focused on future vacation rental permits, not existing vested permits. The workgroup also discussed concerns of oversupply of vacation rentals impacting existing VR owners and hospitality establishments, as well as our community and rural environment.
A question and answer session allowed community members to express their concerns and ask questions. Immediate action was initiated with a letter-writing campaign and a sign-up sheet to attend the Nov. 5 council meeting in Friday Harbor. Sign-ups for other volunteer efforts, including outreach to other islands, were also offered. Anyone wishing to express their concerns about the future of the San Juan Islands can write a letter to the San Juan County Council, 350 Court Street No. 1, Friday Harbor, WA 98250 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Vacation Rental Work Group