Lincoln County Board of Commissioners passed Friday, Dec. 3, a temporary moratorium for short-term rental (STR) licenses after a temporary restraining order was implemented Wednesday, Dec. 1, against Ballot Measure 21-203. Voters passed Ballot Measure 21-203 in the Nov. 2 special election, which would phase out short-term rentals in residential areas of unincorporated Lincoln County and halt the issuance of new licenses.
The ballot measure states, “The people of Lincoln County find that within low density residential zones R-1-A, R-1 and R-2, a major purpose of these provisions is to control, manage and limit vacation rentals in single-family dwellings to protect the character of neighborhoods for residents. Short term rentals in dwelling in unincorporated Lincoln County require special consideration so they operate with respect to the comprehensive plan and the objectives of the underlying zone districts.”
Election results were certified Nov. 19, with 10,080 voters in favor of the measure and 7,338 voting against it.
Because of the restraining order, the moratorium was not in effect, Chair Doug Hunt said during a special meeting Dec. 3.
Hunt said on Wednesday, Dec. 1, a temporary restraining order was granted by the Lincoln County Circuit Court against enforcement of the ballot measure. The order is effective now and will expire Saturday, Dec. 11, at 5:07 p.m. unless further extended by the court or dissolved.
“As a result of that court order, the moratorium against new STR licenses is not in effect,” Hunt said. “We’re here today to discuss reestablishing a moratorium against new licenses in the zones R-1, R-1-A and R-2, which are the zones that are identified in the ballot measure.”
This is a new moratorium against new licenses, Hunt added.
“The moratorium that we allowed to expire in our meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 30, was encompassing for all zones in the unincorporated area of the county,” Hunt said. “The ballot measure does not prohibit new licenses in zones other than the R-1, R-1-A and R-2.”
Hunt recommended prohibiting new licenses in the R-1, R-1-A and R-2 zones. The commissioners agreed to add language to the draft order that states that new license applications that were accepted between the temporary restraining order and the county’s decision will not be processed. In the county’s resolution passed Dec. 3, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office will not issue an STR license to any currently pending applications for licenses in these zones.
The board agreed to suspend all processing of STR licenses until a final determination is made by the Lincoln County Circuit Court on the validity of the ballot measure. The commissioners expect to have an update this week after court proceedings.