Chelan County Commissioners heard Monday from 12th District State Senator Brad Hawkins, who brought along 40th District State Senator Liz Lovelett of Anacortes to talk about short term rentals and workforce housing – an issue that affects both districts. Hawkins says Lovelett explained to the commissioners a bill she's brought up in the legislature the past several sessions:
Under the bill, local jurisdictions would be granted authority to set the percentage of the tax should they choose to adopt it, with a cap of up to 10 percent applied to bookings make on vacation rental websites. She said the idea for the bill came to her when she was a member of the Anacortes City Council. She also told commissioners that adopting codes such as requiring a certain percentage of housing to be owner occupied is working in her district. She mentioned that's particularly an issue in the San Juan Islands, where almost 80 percent of the housing stock is being used for short term rentals.
She also mentioned an extreme case in Whatcom County where a two bedroom home had been turned into a 16-bunk-bed party house, which is far more than realistically feasible.
County Commissioners took no action on short term rentals Monday, but Hawkins called it a good conversation.