[3/25/22] Short-Term Rental Code Must Be Revisited, Board Rules

Posted in Local Government & Meetings

Short-term rentals codes adopted by Chelan County last summer must be revisited, because the county adopted them without appropriate notice to the public. That’s the ruling from the Washington Growth Management Board, which said that while the county was drafting the code, it mischaracterized a substantial change in the text as a “scrivener’s error.” That change required existing operators of vacation rental homes to immediately comply with rules on occupancy, noise, insurance and other issues, rather than giving them a grace period of up to one year.

The board now says that change was substantial enough to require public notice and comment, before county commissioners voted to adopt the ordinance last summer.

The ruling arose from an appeal filed by about 60 short-term rental operators with properties in Chelan County, under the name Community Lodging Operators of Chelan County. The group argued that county commissioners violated six elements of the Growth Management Act when they created and passed the new ordinances.

The hearing board decision ruled in the county’s favor in five of those alleged violations, including claims that county failed to promote the retention and expansion of existing businesses; ignored requirements in its own countywide comprehensive development plan; and did not acknowledge owners’ property rights.

The Growth Management Hearing Board also declined the petitioners’ request to invalidate the short-term rental code altogether, meaning it remains the law of the county.

The short-term rental rules remain in force, but Chelan County now has until September 26th to meet the public notice requirements.