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Talent may ban short-term rentals

TALENT — Amendments to zoning codes to speed up processing of applications for accessory dwelling units would ban the use of them for short-term rentals. A public hearing on the proposal will be held by the city’s Planning Commission at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 8, in Town Hall, 206 E. Main St.

Revisions are in response to a new state law that requires communities to remove barriers to development in response to a lack of housing. SB0151 requires cites of more than 5,000 population to allow ADUs in areas zoned for single family residences.

While discussing the accessory dwelling proposals on April 10 the commissioners recommended the City Council adopt a moratorium on short-term rentals. The council had called for such a suspension in July last year but an ordinance was never developed. Community Development Director Zac Moody said an ordinance would be ready for council review in June.

Complaints about the short-term rentals disrupting neighbors and requests for approvals have occurred since companies such as AirBnB and VRBO have made renting of units and rooms by homeowners a common practice.

A short-term rental in Mayor Darby Ayers-Flood’s neighborhood, although not on her street, has created issues.

“It causes strife in the neighborhood. Parking is a main issue,” said Ayers-Flood. But she hears complaints about the short-term rentals from many areas of town. Creation of planned unit development projects over the prevision two decades allowed building of narrower streets. That has contributed to parking problems, said Ayers-Flood.

During July’s discussion city officials noted that the units may not have planning approval and may not be paying city license fees and lodging taxes. Moody said then that short-term rentals come underneath boarding house provisions in city code that did not address situations they create. He estimated about 30 short-term units were operating but just two had approvals.

Provisions in the proposed accessory dwelling revisions, which incorporates suggestions in a model ordinance crafted by Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development, include:

n A new review process that would be standards based to reduce review time and simply applications.

n A maximum of two ADUs could be allowed on single-family residence lots. One unit would be detached and a second attached or within a house interior. An attached or interior ADU would need a separate entrance.

n System development charges would not be assessed in some instances.

n Off-street parking would not be required for a single ADU if a driveway is improved to other code standards. A second ADU would need additional parking.

Asked by Moody to review the proposals, Laura Buhl of DLCD’s Planning Services Divison wrote, “This looks really good — the City basically followed the ADU model code and added an improvement: allowing greater lot coverage for a second ADU … .”

In another memo, Buhl wrote that Talent’s proposed solutions are being talked about by other communities around the state looking at how to accommodate the new law.

Planning commissioners could make a recommendation on the revisions to the City Council at Tuesday’s session. The council would then consider adoption at a later meeting.

Tony Boom is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.