ashland.news
July 14, 2024

City Corner: Welcome to the summer tourist season in Ashland

Events at Butler Bandshell in Lithia Park are a draw for Ashlanders and tourists alike. Bob Palermini photo/palermini.com
July 8, 2024

Residents interested in renting out rooms as traveler accommodations should understand the rules

By Brandon Goldman

As we approach the bustling summer tourist season, the city of Ashland extends a warm welcome to all visitors. Our town is a cherished destination known for its cultural events, scenic beauty, and vibrant community. Each year, Ashland is fortunate to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to enjoy our beautiful natural areas and parks, extensive mountain bike trails, world-class performing and visual arts, wonderful restaurants and unique shopping experiences.

Tourist accommodations require city approval

Part of the visitor enjoyment of our town is where they stay. To ensure that both residents and visitors have a positive experience, it’s important to understand the regulations regarding tourist accommodations in Ashland. The city Planning Department often receives questions from residents wanting to use all or part of their home to host tourists. All tourist accommodations require approval from the Planning Department. This includes short-term rentals offered through online platforms like Airbnb.

These regulations are in place to preserve the availability of housing for permanent residents, maintaining the character and integrity of residential neighborhoods while accommodating the influx of visitors each year. By regulating accommodations, the city of Ashland ensures that visitors stay in safe and legitimate lodgings that meet community standards.

Read the municipal code

If you are considering applying for a license to rent out part of your home as a traveler accommodation, please review the municipal code and the zoning of your property to determine eligibility. Here are some key requirements:

  • Primary residence: The operator must be the property owner, and the property must be their primary residence. The operator must be present during operation, so renting out an entire house is not permitted.
  • Zoning restrictions: Short-term accommodations are not permitted in single-family neighborhoods. In other zones (commercial and multifamily zones), they are allowed with proper approval, permits, and licensing.
  • Safety compliance: The accommodation must meet all applicable building, fire and safety codes and must be inspected by the Fire Department.
  • Licensing and taxes: The business owner or property owner must maintain a city business license and pay all transient occupancy taxes.

The city of Ashland encourages anyone interested in renting out part of their home to seek guidance from the Planning Department. We are here to help you navigate the process and ensure compliance with all regulations. 

Get approval first

Before someone rents out their home on a short-term basis, whether for a week while on vacation or as a longer term commercial venture, they should be aware that doing so without prior approvals is a violation of Ashland’s land use ordinance. Such violations are subject to fines of $435 each day that the home is used as a traveler accommodation.

To learn more about the rules and regulations regarding traveler accommodations, please contact the Planning Department for further discussion and guidance (planning@ashland.or.us or 541-552-2050).

The city of Ashland is excited about the summer season and looks forward to a fun-filled time for both residents and tourists alike. By working together, we can continue to support both our community’s economic prosperity and maintain our housing supply for the people who call Ashland home. Enjoy everything Ashland has to offer!

Brandon Goldman, AICP, is Ashland’s director of Community Development.

Note: Out of fairness to other candidates, Ashland.news does not allow candidates for office to have a column in the run-up to elections. With so many of the current councilors running for reelection, “Council Corner” will now be “City Corner,” featuring columns from city staff in addition to columns by those councilors not running for reelection. Email letters to the editor and viewpoint submissions to news@ashland.news. To see the archive of all City Corner (and Council Corner) columns, click here.

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