When it comes to the world of short-term rental properties – think Airbnb and its kin – it appears Enumclaw is all in on the ever-growing trend.
Considering an amendment to its Municipal Code during their most recent meeting, members of the City Council opted to go well beyond what had been recommended by staff.
By way of background, the city has been looking at adding to the existing code governing “bed and breakfast” operations. The city’s Planning Commission began working on the issue last summer and talks continued into early this year (including a public hearing) when a recommendation was forwarded to the council.
The City Council then hosted a public hearing of its own Feb. 10, with most of those who stepped to the podium speaking favorably of short-term rentals (STRs).
The proposal that eventually reached the council contained a laundry list of requirements. Among the major stipulations were these two: first, short-term rentals could be made available only 90 nights per year; and second, they would be limited to the city’s “old town” zone. That zone takes in areas closest to the business district, bounded roughly by Railroad Street on the east and Myrtine Street on the west, Kibler Avenue on the north and Roosevelt Avenue on the south.
The “old town” zone includes 458 residential lots or less than 10 percent of the current city housing inventory.
To the greatest extent possible, the city’s elected leaders (by a 6-1 vote) reversed those stipulations. The council approved, on first reading, a version that would allow short-term rentals anywhere inside the city limits, to be available every day of the year.
Those revisions had been recommended by the Community Economic Development Committee, consisting of three members of the council (chairman Kael Johnson, Tony Binion and Beau Chevassus).
Also, while agreeing that a representative for short-term rentals should be on file with the city, the council tossed aside a recommendation that the representative must live within the city limits.
The lone voice of dissent came from Council Hoke Overland. “I’m not going to be in favor of the modifications,” he said. “I’m pretty much against all of them.”
Overland believes allowing STRs to operate 364 days a year is simply too much. “That’s a lot of impact on neighbors,” he said.
The council maintained the recommendation that STRs not be used for special events like weddings, banquets, receptions, parties and concerts.
The measure is expected to go before council for a final vote March 9.