The number of homes in Hood River that are being converted to vacation rentals has skyrocketed in recent years with the advent of Air BnB, Homeaway, VRBO and other online platforms. In 2000 about 4% of the City’s housing stock was reserved for seasonal use (vacation rentals and second homes). By 2015, that number had shot up to 12%. About 2/3 of vacation rentals are investment properties owned by someone who lives outside of Hood River County (see maps from Livable Hood River). Concerned with protecting the integrity of residential neighborhoods from “the party house next door” and preserving Hood River’s limited housing stock for year-round residents instead of out-of-county investors and second home owners, the City Council decided that Hood River needed rules to govern STRs.
The City’s draft regulations use a “cap and density” approach–they the limit the total number of whole-house non-owner occupied vacation rentals in residential zones (143 and require a spacing of 250″ between STRs–about one per city block. A new advocacy group called Livable Hood River has proposed an approach they are calling “the Portland Plan” since they are the same rules that Portland uses. The Portland Plan would keep Hood River’s neighborhoods for neighbors while allowing full-time residents to make some extra money in the tourist economy. STRs would be allowed without limit in commercial zones.
HRVRC also endorses the Portland Plan–our STR testimony to the Planning Commission.
Planning Commission Hearing, March 21 at 5:30, City Hall. Testimony will not be taken, the Planning Commission will be deliberating based on the vast amount of testimony received in the last month. Once the Planning Commission agrees on draft rules, those rules are forwarded to the City Council which will hold its own hearings, allow testimony and make final decisions on rule changes.