WENATCHEE — Chelan County is debating how to handle short-term vacation rentals, and an opposition is beginning to take shape.

At a public hearing last week where Chelan County commissioners took testimony on the issue, about a third of the 120 people present wore shirts distributed by the Short Term Rental Alliance, one of several groups around the country representing vacation rental operators. 

The county has no specific regulations on short-term rentals in its unincorporated areas, which means homeowners have turned to Airbnb, VRBO and other online rental options to make a quick buck from their properties. But not all who want to rent a home for the weekend are equipped to do so safely.

“Last year when I went to 30 or 40 of them, I did find closets that were being used, I found garages that were converted into sleeping rooms,” said Chelan County Fire Marshal Bob Plumb. “Neither of those had adequate egress out, so I said no.”

In the unincorporated county, only the urban growth area around Manson has set rules on short-term rentals, and commissioners think those could be a model for the rest of the county. Commissioners want an outside consultant to help them set standards, and they’re reviewing applications right now. One applicant, Host Compliance, offered a presentation at the hearing.

Despite strong opinions, no testimony from the general public was taken. There are still several public meetings on the topic yet to come.

Jefferson Robbins: 679-7013

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