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The Twisp Town Council is looking over recommendations the Planning Commission made for regulating overnight rentals. The town's current moratorium on conversion of existing dwellings to overnight use expires in early November.

Our friends at the Methow Valley News report the moratorium has been in place for almost a year and a half. It stops conversions of existing residential housing to overnight rentals, including properties in commercial zones. It does not affect hotels, motels or existing overnight rentals including Bed & Breakfasts. According to the Planning Commission’s report, there are currently two overnight rentals operating in residential zones, and three in commercial zones.

The commission's recommendations include redefining overnight housing as “short-term vacation rentals,” exclusion of such housing from any of the town’s residential zones, increasing permit fees, expanding the list of owner application requirements and guest obligations, and stepping up enforcement.

Another option might be to further extend the moratorium, which the twon council has been advised it has the authority to do — but it then must hold a subsequent public hearing to reiterate the findings of fact that supported the original moratorium action.

The commission’s deliberations determined that “if STVRs were prohibited in residential areas, it would have little impact on housing availability and guest’s choices,” the report said. Battle said the commission concluded that the benefits of allowing STVRs in residential zones was “insubstantial.”

The commission will continue its discussions and go through a public review process in preparation for an Oct. 25 public hearing.

After the public hearing, the commission will make its final set of recommendations to the council for possible action at its Nov. 14 meeting — a few days after the moratorium expires after being place for 18 months. If the council adopts the commission’s recommendations at that meeting, any proposed ordinance changes would have to go through a separate process.

There's much more on this at methowvalleynews-dot-com.

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