On Tuesday, Nov. 5, the Vacation Rental Working Group and other concerned islanders will petition the San Juan County Council to enact an immediate county-wide moratorium on new vacation rental permits. The VRWG will present individual statements to the council during the public comment period in addition to providing the council with letters of community support.
“This action is necessary because poorly-regulated vacation rentals are proliferating widely, leading to erosion of environmental quality and neighborhood values throughout much of the county,” said Yonatan Aldort, leader of the working group. “Our island home is suffering from its own success. The tourism that supports our economy is transforming into detrimental over-tourism, prompting us to ask the county to impose this moratorium today in order to give ourselves the time and space needed to seek solutions.”
The county council has yet to respond to previous proposals for a moratorium or regulatory relief. Interested individuals are urged to attend the San Juan County Council business meeting. Nov. 5, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the San Juan County Council Hearing Room, 55 Second St., Friday Harbor, Washington.
The VRWG is an all-volunteer organization that formed in June, shortly after the Eastsound and Deer Harbor Planning and Review Committees forwarded moratorium recommendations to the County Council. The VRWG has sponsored three widely-attended participatory community conversations on the vacation rental topic, including discussions of data on housing, tourism, and trends in permitting; summaries of regulatory responses in other communities; stress on water and septic infrastructure; and loss of open space and environmental quality.
For more information, visit www.vacationrentalsorcas.org.