Beach Drive short term rental properties under direct fire (opinion)

Representation of known short term rental units in Seattle

More like a scattered shot gun approach if you ask me. The Seattle Mayor & esteemed Council members are set to propose strict regs on ALL short term (under 30 days) rental properties in the entire city. That of course includes all of West Seattle and the handful of units on Beach Drive which yours truly just went live with in May. 

The purpose and intention of the proposed legislation is to discourage homeowners with non-owner occupied properties to choose housing out of town tourists over more permanent long term renters. If it all goes as planned, the Council predicts there will be 300 new long term rental units on the market.  They stop short on claiming they’ll be “affordable” but that’s what they really want, and frankly should want.

Councilmember Tim Burgess that chairs Affordable Housing prides himself on using “smart policies and evidence-based solutions”. Really?

From personal experience, the few guests we have hosted so far have either had family living in West Seattle, were referred by neighbors that don’t have enough space for out of town relatives, a family from Minnesota that drove up from Portland to hang out and see a Twins game at Safeco Field, and a local West Seattle resident celebrating a landmark birthday with her out of area friends as a stay-cation. What they all had in common is…

  • They did not want to rent a hotel downtown and fight traffic and parking.
  • They did not want to stay in the basement of someone’s primary residence.
  • They all wanted a private waterfront home all to themselves which is not available anywhere commercially in the city.
  • They all spent a majority of time & money hanging out in West Seattle.

Other than required licensing, the Council is not going to hinder homeowners that are using their primary residence for housing STR guests. The idea is that this segment of the market is merely trying to make ends meet and subjecting them to the proposed regs wouldn’t result in additional permanent units anyhow. Well, the only 2 homeowners I know around here using their primary residence as a STR have entire apartment units on their lower floor and choose short term rather than permanent renters. Not trying to pull them into the crab boil as well but it probably won’t be long before the City sics their proposed staff of STR inspector goons on them as well!

Now we need to make a decision what to do with our house next door if the legislation passes through as proposed. Rent it out on a permanent basis? No, we also like the flexibility of using it for ourselves, family & friends. Sell it? Maybe some years down the road. Bottom line is that the City of Seattle will miss out on any further taxes & licensing fees we generate and West Seattle establishments will lose some year around tourism dollars. It’s just too much work & expense to run a STR like ours for the proposed limit of 90 days a year when the break even point is more like around 160 days.

 

WShotel

West Seattle’s one and only hotel/motel

I’m not saying a problem doesn’t exist in other parts of the city. All of Burgess’s example’s of why short term rentals are cheating permanent locals from finding affordable housing border downtown Seattle. He claims extreme abuses of entire apartment/condo floors being held out for STR to tourists. We’ve recently learned that “entrepreneurs” are actually renting out permanent apartment space and then jacking the rent to STR guests all with 100% approval of the building’s management team (also receiving a cut, of course). I also wouldn’t be surprised if abuses are taking place with the recent high density rezoning and micro housing attended for gram & gramps or permanent local renters.

Seems to me that the Council and Mayor should be targeting those abuses rather than ma & pa on Beach Drive.

 

Scupper, reporting/ranting for Beach Drive Blog

Petition to repave Beach Drive

bd pot hole driveA Beach Drive neighbor, Jim Unland, wants Beach Drive to be repaved. He is looking for 100 signatures on his on-line petition to repave pot-hole riddled Beach Drive. Whether your drive or bike on Beach Drive, you’re probably very aware of sad state of our street.

From Jim’s emails:

Here is the link to a petition I created.  I am hoping you can put it on your blog and promote it and convince people to sign it and share it.  It is linked to Lisa Herbold’s email and Sue Byers (SDOT).

I have business cards ordered with the website on them and I will be walking the neighborhood giving them out.  Between websites like yours and my walking, I’m hoping to get enough signatures to get some movement on this issue by the City.

…When someone signs the petition, our Councilmember, Lisa Herbold and the two “at-large” Councilmembers, Tim Burgess and Lorena González will be emailed a message simply stating “Please Repave Beach Drive”  The other recipient of this message will be Sue Byers.  She is in charge of repaving at SDOT.”

In 2011, someone with a sense of humor re-named “Pot Hole Drive”.

You can sign the petition by clicking this link: https://www.change.org/p/jim-unland-repave-beach-drive

 

Slow down with Proposition 1 …opinion

SDOT’s new levy project to move most of Seattle sounds like another great plan for West Seattle (remember the monorail Green Line?). Status quo with more bike lanes and speed enforcement is exactly what we need! Let’s take closer look at each enhancement…

Fauntleroy WayKey elements include paving, adding a protected bike lane, transit enhancements, and signal upgrades, improving safety and reliability for all travelers. Sounds terrific for Vashon Island comutters. How much $ are they contributing again??

Roxbury Street & 35th AveOver the last three years, 294 collisions, 128 injuries, and 2 fatalities have occurred. We are currently planning and designing near-term safety improvements paired with education and enforcement, working towards the city’s Vision. I believe a majority of these accidents occur from drivers slamming on their breaks trying to avoid the traffic-cop camera’s mailing out $190 tickets for doing 22 in a 20mph School Zone… when lights are flashing or children present or distracted by taking your eyes off the road to get a read on the myriad of signs designed to “educate us”.

SW Alaska Street:  The levy would provide funding to make safety improvements like redesigning the roadway. That’s an easy one. Just put the design back to where it was before adding the “bus only” & the staggered right turn only lane. Can you imagine being an out-of-towner trying to drive that stretch all the way to the junction?

Admiral Way: Project Goals

  • Encourage slower speeds  Tell that to the bikers doing 40 mph down the hill.
  • Reduce collisions  Collisions happen.
  • Accommodate existing maximum on-street parking occupancy There’s plenty of occupancy in motor homes & vans along Beach Drive.
  • Provide a comfortable and predictable bike connection between Alki and California Ave business district Why just bikes?

Here’s a more comprehensive plan that’s much more inclusive to our residents…

Admiral_proposal

 

The rest of the levy just repairs what we already have at a cost of $275 per year per household (median household of 450K) as opposed to the $130 we’re currently paying with the Bridge the Gap levy.

I’m convinced that the rest of the city just believes we West Seattleites love a good parade and need to slow down. While crawling in traffic between Admiral & Fauntleroy junctions yesterday, I reminisced of escorting my HiYu princess along California Ave. I wanted to roll down my window and give the float wave to all the angry impatient drivers heading the other way.

If you ask me, the rest of the city better look out. Old timers tell us it only took 71 years to get the high level bridge over the Duwamish!

Seattleites endured in trying to secure a high-level bridge that would get them to and from “the mainland” without being held up by boat traffic along the Duwamish River.

West Seattleites began campaigning for the bridge in 1916 and at one point threatened to secede from the city if it didn’t deliver.

Thank goodness we now have the West Seattle Bridge. Where else can you sit in traffic all day, soak in the wonderful views and dream of the day Starbucks can land a 4th cup of jo on your car hood’s drone pad.

They first named Alki “little New York” when the city founders came ashore. Now with all the new high density residential buildings coming on-line, we are becoming the “little Manhattan Island” of Seattle and could use a transportation plan that helps us get around.

IMG_5254

Scupper, blathering opinions on Beach Drive Blog (My wife, the blog boss, only allows me 1 opinion per year!)

Do you have a rental property on Beach Drive? Read this!

The Seattle City Council created an ordinance that requires all rental properties be registered with the city of Seattle. This rolled out a few years ago and, if you’re like me, you may recall hearing about it and assumed it was for folks who had multiple rental properties and did not apply to those who just have one rental or a mother-in-law apartment they’re renting out…WRONG!

The Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance (aka RRIO) requires all rental properties, including attached dwelling units (aka mother-in-law apartments) to be registered with the City of Seattle.

The deadlines to register your Seattle rental home depends on the zip code the property is located in.  Beach Drive rentals with a zip code of 98116 have until September 30, 2015 to register their rentals. Rental properties with a zip code of 98136 have until June 30, 2016 to register.

 

The cost to register a 1-unit rental is $175. The penalties to not register your rental home are a steep $150 per day for the first 10 days, climbing to $500 per day after that.

The city will also require that your rental be inspected by either a City inspector or one that you hire (who has been approved by the City).

 

I recently wrote about this on my other blog and I’ve been surprised at how many Seattle landlords are not aware of this ordinance.

So if you have a rental unit in the City of Seattle, you need to learn more about RRIO. For more information or to register your property, click here.

Beach Drive Neighbor runs for City Council District 1

GeorgeYou may know George Capestany as the person who has the three goats just off Beach Drive.

Did you know he wants to represent West Seattle on the City Council?

Here is his press release:

George Capestany  for West Seattle.  Community leader & coach, launches campaign for Seattle City Council in District 1.

SEATTLE- George Capestany, a long time West Seattle resident, active community volunteer, and US Navy Veteran launched his campaign for Seattle City Council District 1 today – Veterans Day 2014. Capestany is seeking to represent the newly established District ,  which includes the areas of West Seattle, Delridge, South Park and all the neighborhoods in between.

Capestany has pledged to be a strong voice for the citizens of West Seattle. George is focusing his campaign on representing the needs of the district 1 communities on the council, which include public safety, transportation, traffic congestion, parking, and development that affect the residents of West Seattle.  Capestany has vowed to make sure development and planning projects are in the best interest of residents and respect the unique landscape of West Seattle.

“For a long time, West Seattle residents have been left out of virtually everything that goes on at City Hall. Now we have a chance to elect one of us, a true West Seattle resident who knows our area.” Capestany said. “I will work to ensure the unique needs of West Seattle are heard and addressed.”

Capestany has pulled together a team of key business leaders and residents to assess what is important to the community. After considerable deliberation, Capestany determined he has the ability to unite all the unique neighborhoods in district 1.

Campaign Treasurer and long-time West Seattle resident, Ronald Sullivan stated, “West Seattle residents have gone too long without real representation in City politics, and as a result transportation issues are affecting the quality of life for us on the West Side.  West Seattle neighbors need to have their voices heard to ensure there are transportation alternatives, especially during the ongoing tunnel construction.  George is a proven leader who can truly represent the needs of this area on the Seattle City Council”.

B-Town Blog’s Candidates Forum

This is via a comment from Mark Neuman of the B-Town Blog:

I wanted to let you know about the B-Town (Burien) Blog's Candidates Forum featuring the four announced candidates for 34th District State Representative, Position 2.

The Candidates Forum is set for Tuesday April 27, 2010 at the Highline Performing Arts Center on SW 152nd next to Highline High School in Burien, just east of I-509. It'll run from 7pm to 8:30pm.

John Carlson of KVI and KOMO will serve as moderator. (John is originally from West Seattle, and actually ran for 34th District State Representative way back in the mid-80s).

All four announced candidates have agreed to participate:
Mike Heavey, Joe Fitzgibbon, Marcee Stone and Geoffrey "Mac" McElroy.

I am hoping you could forward this email to your Community Association mailing list and anyone else you think might be interested in attending.