Changes are coming for code enforcement, short-term vacation rentals, sign placements and manufactured homes in John Day.

At the joint John Day City Council and Planning Commission virtual meeting May 12, public hearings and discussion were held regarding ordinances amending various aspects of the development code.

Code enforcement saw some changes to clarify compliance provisions, redefine violations and provide provisions for remediation, according to the staff report. Development code violations have been redefined as a nuisance instead of a misdemeanor, which will reduce the penalty fee for violations.

City Manager Nick Green said the amendment also clarifies that any structure that is erected, moved, altered, land divided or used has to be done in compliance with the code.

The amendment also places limitations on properties that are in violation.

“If you’re in violation of the code for property, you cannot continue to develop until that violation has been resolved,” Green said. “The intent here is to prevent us from going further down a path that’ll require more time and money to correct.”

Councilor Dave Holland clarified that he does not believe that these amendments add permitting, but rather clarifies what the city can do when people don’t go through the processes that have already been established.

Sign placements saw changes to avoid unnecessary meetings and give a slight increase in size standards for signs.

Green said that all signs that require permits will be approved as a type one administrative approval, which will be reviewed by Daisy Goebel, the associate planner, and then go to Green for signature as long as it meets the standards in the code.

Signs will be referred to the Planning Commission for public review if they exceed the size standards, according to Green. Freestanding signs can now be 10 feet in height, over the previous 8 feet, and no building-mounted signs shall project more than three feet above the highest roof elevation of the building.

Planning Commission Chair Ken Boethin said he liked the changes because the commission met many times in the past because a proposed sign was 1 foot larger than regulations allowed.

Manufactured and mobile homes saw amendments to ensure the orderly development of new housing in the city limits.

Alterations of existing manufactured dwelling parks will be subject to a type two site design review, according to Green. This is to ensure that the alteration does not expand a non-conforming use.

Other additional requirements will be 100 square foot of open space for each unit in a mobile home park provided in common open space; common space areas shall each be no less than 5,000 square feet; lighting shall be at levels appropriate for pedestrians; and short-term rentals within mobile parks will be prohibited except in designated RV areas, which shall be subject to applicable transient room taxes.

This ordinance does not affect existing manufactured home parks except when altering or adjusting the parks or when adding new units, according to the staff report.

Regarding short-term vacation rentals and bed and breakfast businesses, the city’s intent is to relax the restrictive policy.

Rather than requiring a type three conditional use permit for someone to convert a property or dwelling unit into a short-term rental, this relaxation would allow property owners to simply apply for a business license and then go through an administrative review with the city, Green said.

Short-term rentals are now defined as providing lodging for 28 or fewer consecutive days.

The amendment also requires a transient room tax for short-term rentals to be collected by the property owner and given to the applicable government body. The city also has an agreement with AirBNB, where the company will remit taxes directly to the taxing authority in the city limits rather than requiring that it be remitted by the property owner.

Reporter

Rudy Diaz is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at rudy@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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