County proposes free pass for vacation rentalsPermalink +
Sun, Apr 26, 2015, 2:05 pm // Guest writer
Tani Sutley guest writes her third article about the lack of county regulations for residental homes being converted to vacation rentals.
- - -
The Whatcom County Council will introduce an amendment to add vacation rentals to Title 20 zoning at the council's evening meeting on Tuesday, April 28. The agenda is here and the pdf of the document item is AB2015-072A.
Whatcom County Senior Planner Gary Davis will present an outline of the amendment which would add vacation rentals as an “accessory use" in every residential neighborhood. No permit or inspection would be required and it has not yet been decided if operators of vacation rentals will be subject to performance standards. However, if no permit is required, all standards will be voluntary compliance only.
According to a letter from Royce Buckingham, attorney for Planning and Development Services, the county planning department first proposed that the Title 20 rooming house definition be “updated to recognize that short-term transient rentals smaller than six sleeping units may be regulated in some manner in appropriate zones. The manner/method of regulation is to be determined by the legislature.”
More recently, the county determined to no longer distinguish between long-term and short-term rentals of residences, that rentals of any duration, including vacation rentals, are permitted in rural and residential zones. They have not issued any recommendations on building code standards for vacation rentals.
County senior planner Gary Davis writes in a letter to the council: “A Whatcom County Building Services Code Interpretation (PL573-001C) requires additional safety features for bed and breakfast businesses – including automatic sprinklers for B&B’s with three to five guestrooms. The International Building Code does not address vacation rentals or B&B’s specifically, but states “Where a structure is proposed for a purpose that is not specifically provided for in this code, such structure shall be classified in the group that the occupancy most nearly resembles, according to the fire and safety and relative hazard involved.” Whatcom County’s Building Official will need to determine how to apply the building code to vacation rental units.”
County planners discuss in the AB2015-072A proposal that the City of Bellingham zoning codes do not “...address vacation rentals but their staff and Hearing Examiner interpret the code as prohibiting transient accommodations in residential zones – except bed and breakfast facilities, which are allowed through a conditional use permit.”
Reviewing this proposal, it appears to merge commercial uses of property with residential uses. It would give the business community access to residential properties in a new way and allow investors to legally convert properties to commercial-use-only with no permits. There is no mention of the home being owner occupied.
Our County Council members are being asked to decide if this new use of homes for tourist lodging serves the needs of our community. If it is regulated to be a very minor use of the property that otherwise is used by the owner as a residence it could have a small impact on residential neighborhoods. If “accessory use” is to left undefined and no permit is required then it is left to the imagination of the property owner to decide how to use the home.
The April 28th meeting will introduce the ordinance for discussion at a future date. It will be the Council’s turn to decide to advance the Planning Commission’s proposal for unregulated vacation rentals in every zoning district where residential housing exists or to advance the Council’s proposal with the same provisions but with some limited standards.
Related Links:-> Lodging goals for whatcom county - by Tani
-> Whatcom county and the new sharing economy - by Tani
Sun, Apr 26, 2015, 2:05 pm // Guest writerTani Sutley writes a second article on the increasing number of vacation rentals - and the County Council bill to let them expand dramatically.
4 comments; last on May 02, 2015
Thu, Dec 18, 2014, 5:04 pm // John ServaisOne part of the environmental study for the proposed Cherry Point mega coal terminal has been completed and released. It deals with ship collisions - they call it…
2 comments; last on Dec 22, 2014
Thu, Dec 18, 2014, 12:26 pm // John ServaisBellingham Public Works shows how tone deaf they can be to business concerns. They insisted on street work that takes away up to 80 parking spaces in Fairhaven…
Thu, Aug 14, 2014, 3:13 pm // Guest writerSandy Robson guest writes of the need for real prosperity at Cherry Point, not a destructive short term coal port that destroys the fishing grounds.
5 comments; last on Oct 02, 2014
Mon, Jul 21, 2014, 5:30 am // Guest writerLandlords are so caught up opposing a licensing and inspection ordinance, they cannot see the upside for them in ridding the city of bad rentals.
19 comments; last on Aug 01, 2014
Sun, Feb 09, 2014, 10:13 am // John ServaisThe old empty Reid Boiler Works industrial building in Fairhaven burned to the ground Saturday night.
Sun, Apr 28, 2013, 10:30 pm // John ServaisNew York Times columnist, Paul Krugman, has a masterful short article that explains why austerity is not working.
3 comments; last on May 23, 2013
Tue, Feb 26, 2013, 7:39 am // Riley SweeneyRiley details upcoming merger between PeaceHealth and a much more conservative entity
1 comments; last on Feb 26, 2013
Mon, Feb 25, 2013, 6:51 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein artists have to eat, too!
Tue, Jan 15, 2013, 5:53 pm // Riley SweeneyRiley looks into Ericksen's legislative efforts this session
1 comments; last on Jan 22, 2013
Mon, Dec 03, 2012, 4:26 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein citizens must hold their representatives' feet to the fire
6 comments; last on Dec 09, 2012
Thu, Nov 29, 2012, 9:23 am // Paul deArmondHoss Unplugged, November 30 will Honk the York Neighborhood's Tonk
Fri, Sep 21, 2012, 9:53 am // John ServaisBellingham Business Journal breaking story - Lummi's to hold meeting today at noon to speak against the Cherry Point project.
7 comments; last on Nov 04, 2012
Mon, Aug 20, 2012, 9:00 am // Riley SweeneyRiley sits down with Matt Petryni with Power Past Coal to get the latest scoop
Fri, Aug 17, 2012, 12:50 am // Wendy HarrisThe Mayor's Negotiations With Costco Undercuts City Permit Procedures And Public Process
4 comments; last on Aug 17, 2012
Mon, Jul 23, 2012, 7:05 pm // John ServaisWhere a planning staff desire for view corridors in the Fairhaven plan yields a view corridor that does nothing for views.
1 comments; last on Jul 25, 2012
Wed, Jan 25, 2012, 11:42 am // Riley SweeneyRiley visits the local WorkSource center and interviews the regional director
Tue, Dec 27, 2011, 1:55 pm // Riley SweeneyRiley questions Pike's timing, and Occupy's choice of tactics
2 comments; last on Dec 28, 2011
Thu, Dec 15, 2011, 2:44 pm // Riley SweeneyLocal blogger Shane Roth files ethical complaint over Crawford's sweetheart deals
3 comments; last on Dec 16, 2011
Sun, Dec 04, 2011, 6:53 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein the sooty prospect of economic necessity rears its ugly head
2 comments; last on Dec 05, 2011
Wed, Nov 30, 2011, 7:51 pm // Riley SweeneyMore on the city employee moonlighting issue
Mon, Nov 28, 2011, 6:29 pm // Riley SweeneyThe Political Junkie breaks a story of employee moonlighting within city of Bellingham
7 comments; last on Nov 30, 2011
Tue, Nov 15, 2011, 11:43 am // Dick ConoboyThe Padden Trails rezone effort is a misuse of the Infill Tool Kit on the outskirts of Bellingham.
8 comments; last on Nov 16, 2011
Wed, Nov 02, 2011, 4:00 pm // Dick ConoboyOccupy Bellingham is already creating jobs for the 99% - but this raises some interesting questions.
8 comments; last on Nov 04, 2011
Mon, Oct 31, 2011, 4:07 pm // Guest writerBob Ferris of Re-Sources takes a values based perspective on our community and a possible coal port.
9 comments; last on Nov 02, 2011
Wed, Oct 19, 2011, 8:20 am // Riley SweeneyRiley continues his examination of Ericksen's anti-working people values
1 comments; last on Oct 19, 2011
Sat, Oct 08, 2011, 3:29 pm // Riley SweeneyRiley reports on the Occupy Bellingham Rally
11 comments; last on Oct 13, 2011
Thu, Sep 08, 2011, 10:37 am // Riley SweeneyLook at the title, it spells it out.
6 comments; last on Sep 12, 2011
Fri, Jul 29, 2011, 11:11 am // John ServaisThe Gateway Pacific coal port appears to be under construction now - secretly and w/o permits.
36 comments; last on Aug 05, 2011
Mon, Jul 18, 2011, 10:03 pm // Riley SweeneyThe Political Junkie interviews Christina Maginnis
4 comments; last on Jul 22, 2011
Wed, Jul 06, 2011, 1:40 am // Riley SweeneyRiley rants about the economy, and the solutions to our ills
6 comments; last on Aug 02, 2011
Mon, Jun 20, 2011, 10:45 am // Sheri WardProposed landlord licensing for Bellingham is on today's city council agenda.
10 comments; last on Jun 30, 2011
Fri, Jun 03, 2011, 12:56 pm // John ServaisA running update of links and info on the Coal Port and Trains of proposed Gateway Pacific at Cherry Point.
15 comments; last on Jun 29, 2011
Wed, Jun 01, 2011, 5:32 pm // Guest writerGuest writer Mark Flanders' call to action for June 1 flash mob at coal port meeting
7 comments; last on Jun 09, 2011
Wed, May 18, 2011, 10:31 am // Riley SweeneyPatti Brooks' war on gophers shows how she is a socialist
3 comments; last on May 28, 2011
Wed, Mar 30, 2011, 10:44 am // Guest writerElisabeth Marshall explains that Washington is one of several states looking at the advantages of a state-owned Public Bank
1 comments; last on Apr 03, 2011
Fri, Mar 25, 2011, 5:00 am // John ServaisCoal trains will probably pass Lynden on their way from Sumas to Cherry Point, after coming across on the Canadian rail roads.
16 comments; last on Aug 14, 2011
Thu, Feb 17, 2011, 7:30 pm // Guest writerGuest writer Doug Karlberg follows up with report from Tuesday's Port Commission meeting
7 comments; last on Feb 20, 2011
Mon, Feb 14, 2011, 7:35 pm // Guest writerWhy the price of moorage matters to all Whatcom County. A guest article by Doug Karlberg.
5 comments; last on Jun 30, 2011
Sat, Mar 27, 2010, 6:45 am // Craig MayberrySome questions on health care reform to our Congressional delegation.
Tue, Mar 16, 2010, 6:59 am // Riley SweeneySupporting the proposed sales tax increase for the WTA - by new writer Riley Sweeney.
3 comments; last on Mar 21, 2010
Fri, Mar 05, 2010, 12:30 pm // Craig MayberryA novel approach to government monoplies
Mon, Feb 15, 2010, 7:00 am // Craig MayberryPeople and businesses have had to make changes in what they do, when will government do the same?
1 comments; last on Mar 02, 2010
Sat, Jan 16, 2010, 7:00 am // Craig MayberryContrasts business ethics and political ethics
4 comments; last on Jan 18, 2010
Tue, Dec 15, 2009, 5:00 pm // Craig MayberryIt is always fascinating to watch the government budgeting process. With the recent reduction in revenue forecast, the Governor and other state politicians announced a severe cut in…
Thu, Oct 01, 2009, 5:20 pm // Larry HorowitzIf you are interested in saving Chuckanut Ridge, there is some glimmer of hope for preserving this ecologically-rich and environmentally-sensitive property. If you are willing to make a…
3 comments; last on Oct 04, 2009
Thu, May 21, 2009, 7:00 pm // Larry HorowitzThe Associated Press (AP) has created an interesting interactive chart measuring the economic stress by County.
According to the AP, Whatcom County has a Stress Index of 9.86 for…
1 comments; last on May 22, 2009
Wed, May 20, 2009, 1:25 pm // Larry Horowitz“At present, we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it gross domestic product.” So says renowned entrepreneur and visionary Paul Hawken at his…
1 comments; last on May 21, 2009
Thu, May 14, 2009, 7:28 pm // g.h.kirschPaul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, asks, “What do you suppose it is like to be elected president of the United States only to find…
4 comments; last on May 16, 2009
Sun, Apr 05, 2009, 9:59 pm // Craig MayberryThis week a study suggested that one of the most important issues in Whatcom County is the preservation of farmland. The Whatcom County Council has talked for years…
1 comments; last on Apr 28, 2009
Sun, Mar 15, 2009, 6:25 pm // g.h.kirsch"I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers…
6 comments; last on Mar 17, 2009
Thu, Feb 12, 2009, 8:36 pm // Larry HorowitzHave you ever wondered how truly livable cities become undesirable hell holes? Do the people who run these highly attractive areas into the ground merely fail to comprehend…
2 comments; last on Feb 16, 2009
Sat, Feb 07, 2009, 11:17 am // Larry HorowitzIf you happen to find yourself in the market for an 82-acre hilly swamp wholly encumbered by critical areas like steep slopes and mature-forested Category 1 wetlands in…
Tue, Feb 03, 2009, 1:05 am // Larry HorowitzI really pity Horizon Bank’s CEO Rich Jacobson. His predecessor, Laury Evans, sure left him a bad hand to play. Not only is Mr. Jacobson faced with the…
2 comments; last on Mar 02, 2009
Fri, Jan 02, 2009, 7:23 pm // John ServaisComing to our Fairhaven waterfront - this magnificent floating drydock. The above aerial photo is of the Fairhaven Shipyard with the new drydock placed as a computer image…
1 comments; last on Jan 03, 2009
Fri, Dec 12, 2008, 12:46 am // Craig MayberryAnother day another bailout by our government. After facing fierce opposition from regular people, our federal government decided to bail out banks, now the latest effort is to…
7 comments; last on Dec 14, 2008
Fri, Oct 17, 2008, 1:20 pm // Larry HorowitzWhen it comes to planning for the future of our county and cities, must we be victims of the past or can we become masters of our own…
1 comments; last on Oct 18, 2008
Thu, Sep 11, 2008, 12:18 pm // Larry HorowitzPeople everywhere like to use labels to compartmentalize things - as well as other people. In the context of our local growth debate, we hear terms like Pro-Growth…
25 comments; last on Sep 18, 2008
Fri, Jul 04, 2008, 2:21 am // Myron WlaznakOver the past few years, I’ve written in other venues about profound impacts we can expect to our daily lives from fundamental changes in a rapidly evolving world.…
2 comments; last on Jul 23, 2008
Sat, Jun 28, 2008, 9:11 am // Larry HorowitzOn March 26, 2002, the US Patent Office issued Patent No. 6,362,718 B1, potentially altering the entire paradigm in our quest for the holy grail of unlimited clean…
11 comments; last on Jul 23, 2008
Election InfoCounty Candidate Filings
State Elections Website
Whatcom County Elections
Coal, Oil & TrainsCoal Stop
Community Wise Bellingham
Powder River Basin R. C.
Local Blogs & NewsBellingham Herald
Bham Herald Politics Blog
Bham Politics & Economics
Bhm Biz Journal
Friends of Whatcom
Get Whatcom Planning
League of Women Voters
Western Front - WWU
Local CausesChuckanut Community Forest
City Club of Bellingham
Futurewise - Whatcom
Lummi Island Quarry
N. Cascades Audubon
NW Holocaust Center
Reduce Jet Noise
Salish Sea Org.
Save the Granary Building
WA Conservation Voters
Whatcom Peace & Justice
Port of Bellingham
State Elections Website
US - The White House
WA State Access
WA State Elections
WA State Legislature
Weather & ClimateCliff Mass Weather Blog
Nat Hurricane Center
Two day forecast
Watts Up With That? - climate
Edge of Sports
Famous Internet Skiers
Good Web SitesAl-Jazeera online
Change The Mascot
Foreign Policy in Focus
Innocence Project, The
Intrnational Herald Tribune
Julia Ioffe/New Republic
Middle East Times
New American Century
Paul Krugman - economics
Personal bio info
Portland Indy Media
Project Vote Smart
Stand for the Troops
Talking Points Memo
The Crisis Papers
War and Piece
NwCitizen 1995 - 2007Early Northwest Citizen
Quiet, Offline or DeadBellingham Police Activity
Citizens of Bellingham
Cordata & Meridian
Facebook Port Reform
N. Sound Conservancy
No Leaky Buckets
Protect Bellingham Parks
The American Telegraph