Short-term rental recommendations: Support ‘this bundle of compromises’

Despite Barb Rossing’s plea to protect the short-term rental (STR) task force consensus, her recommendations would do precisely the opposite.

Dr. Rossing lobs accusations at Commissioner Gering, but her only specific criticism is Gering’s suggestion to exempt babies under age 2 from guest limits. In joining Gering to support this measure, Commissioner Bugert cited Chelan-Douglas Health District guidance that excludes babies from septic system calculations.

Families with young children are among those who gain the most from STRs and cause the fewest problems for hosts and neighbors. The commissioners made an evidence-based decision that is consistent with existing practices and will attract more of the visitors Chelan County should be welcoming.

Dr. Rossing herself misrepresents and attacks the task force consensus demanding that occupancy limits be tied to building permits. This was never discussed by the task force and would upend the terms of the task force negotiations.

The draft STR code includes a definition of “bedroom” that accommodates the variety of floorplans (e.g. lofts) found in recreational properties. Moreover, Chelan County generally only retains building permits and plans for six years — making this requirement impossible for most homes to meet.

Perhaps, that is the point: To suffocate us all with red tape.

I was recently told by an STR opponent that “Babies and excess sewage are really not the problem ... it is bad, irresponsible owners. That’s not you, but there are a lot of them out there.”

Instead of inflicting collateral damage on responsible owners, can we please focus on the owners, properties and behaviors that cause the problems?

Since its founding, the Short-Term Rental Alliance of Chelan County (STRACC) has advocated strict enforcement of noise, parking, garbage and trespassing codes — ensuring peaceful enjoyment for residents and visitors alike.

STRACC may not like every provision of the task force’s recommendations, but respects the process and understands the importance of this bundle of compromises. STRACC will continue to advocate for reasonable, evidence-based regulations that keep Chelan County communities among the best places to live, work, and visit.

Don MacKenzie


Don MacKenzie is Secretary of STRACC and served on the county’s STR Task Force.

Don’t single out short-term rentals

In response to the letter about occupancy and short-term rentals (STRs): Why is it that STRs are the only ones that this will apply to?

I know of many families that live in one- and two-bedroom single-family homes with six to 10 people living in each household.

Why aren’t they included in this?

If STRs are the only ones that are being targeted, then that is justly unfair. Every home, — whether STRs or long-term rental — and every household should be included too.

And how do you even justify saying that kids under 2 should count toward the occupancy? They don’t use the toilet, or stand for long periods of time in the shower.

For many of us, STRs are our way of living. If I wasn’t a STR owner, I would have lost my house. We are retired senior citizens making things work with our STR.

Karen Barton