Vacation Rental: the discussion continues
The first of three forums addressing vacation rentals in the San Juan Islands was held June 9 to a Zoom audience of about 150 interested persons. Sponsored by the San Juan Islands Community Network, the forum “Discovery’ was the first addressing the much-discussed issue. The second forum is scheduled for Thursday, June 17.
Panelists for this first of three community conversations (available at sjicn.org/forums) included Lopezian Jan Scilipoti of Hosting on the Rock, an advocacy group for owners of vacation rental property; Toby Cooper from the Vacation Rental Working Group a group concerned about the proliferation and impact of VRs on the islands; San Juan Council Chair Jaime Stevens; and Doug Whittaker of Confluence Research and Consulting that has conducted exhaustive research on tourism and the impact of vacation rentals on communities.
Jan Scilipoti, a 20 year Lopez resident, vacation rental owner, and member of Hosting on the Rock spoke to the desire that vacation rental owners want to be good neighbors, to manage their properties well, and offered some solutions to resolving neighbors’ concerns.
Tony Cooper shared that the VR Working Group on Orcas had identified three areas of concern with VRs - saturation, neighborliness, and the perceived impact on the environment. Like Scilipoti, he offered potential solutions to alleviate those concerns.
Research shared by Doug Whittaker suggested attendees focus on the larger picture of the challenges presented by both tourism and the large number of homes serving as second homes to people not living in the islands. He suggested viewing vacation rentals from this perspective is critical to coming to the wisest decisions.
All panelists agreed that accountability and enforcement were critical to a healthy attitude toward vacation rentals.
Your questions and comments are important to us and help us to target our forums in ways that can be responsive to your questions and concerns. When possible we will forward questions and comments to our panelists, however, given the volume of questions received it may not be possible to provide individual answers.
Visit www.sjicn.org/forums for a recording of the event and complete a poll prior to watching the video. After viewing, please complete the survey gauging your impressions of the first forum. Share specific questions or ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Register TODAY for forum #2 - Common Ground - a focus on workable solutions identified during the first forum.
These forums are sponsored by The San Juan Islands Community Network offering islanders an opportunity to engage in democratic self-governance. To subscribe to bulletins or donate to SJICN, visit www.sjicn.org/subscribe-donate.