Going from 250 to 500 feet. That is the recommended increase to buffer one short-term rental (STR) to another in Bend.
“Another part was to allow STR owners to use their properties as long-term rentals without losing the privilege of having it be an STR,” said Scott Winters, Chair of the Bend Planning Commission.
After the Bend City Council asked staff to provide information and data on short term rentals, they later directed the planning commission to bring back amendments to the development codes for the 500-foot buffer and a long-term rental option for STR licensees.
“We noticed STRs started to become a little bit of a problem in certain areas and a little over-saturation in the neighborhoods,” Winters said. “So, city council implemented rules for short-term rentals in the city.”
Before the planning commission took to a vote on the change in the buffer size and licensing, they heard comments from the public Monday night.
A few were for the change, even asking them to increase the buffer zone, but most voiced concern.
“I don’t see where my little tiny 24 square feet is keeping anyone from a long term,” said one commenter.
“I want to be able to choose, whose in the house, are they going to be able to take care of it,” asked another commenter. “That is why I chose a short-term rental.”
Andrew Lawrence of Bend owns two short-term rentals in the city.
He says with the change in Oregon tenant laws and his own terrible experience with long-term renters, he prefers short-term rentals.
“You are not going to solve the affordable housing crisis by limiting more STRs here in Bend,” Lawrence said.
The buffer change will not affect current STR owners, but licensing could change by selling the property.
After discussion by the planning commission, they voted 3-2 to recommend the changes and present them to the city council on October 5.