Short-term Rental Moratorium

Background

Over the past year, the City of Gig Harbor has worked diligently with stakeholders to produce regulations around short-term rentals (STRs). Short-term rentals are an entirely new land use that had not been previously considered, and the current Gig Harbor Municipal Code does not adequately address this category. Gig Harbor is not alone in this situation, as many cities and counties across the country are also wrestling with how to appropriately plan for this unique category. 

 

In October 2021, the city council enacted a six-month moratorium on acceptance of new permits related to this use, to provide staff with the time to analyze the land use category and to propose regulations appropriate for Gig Harbor. The moratorium was extended for an additional six months in April 2022 and extended again in September 2022. 

Direction from the City Council

Both the planning commission and city council have studied this issue intensely and gathered extensive public comment.  At a study session held on January 19, 2023, the city council provided staff with formal direction to prepare an ordinance for council’s consideration and adoption.

 

Ordinance 1507 will be presented to council on February 13 for first reading and a public hearing. The ordinance will be available for public review beginning on February 2. The key provisions of the ordinance will include:

  • Creation of a single “short-term rental” land use type which will proceed through a Type II permit process.  The short-term rental definition will not include “live aboard vessels.”
  • Allowance of STRs to be permitted in all residential and commercial zones where dwelling units are allowed.  
  • Allowance of only one STR permit per operator. 
  • Establishment of performance standards for STRs.
  • Provision for the lifting of the moratorium on rental applications upon adoption of the ordinance.

This path forward provides the city with an opportunity to collect real data on the amount of STRs permitted, review any adverse impacts from permitted STRs, and review any public complaints. Along with this option, the city council directed staff to create an online STR tracking tool and to provide quarterly reports on the state of STRs over the course of a year. Council will review the data to determine if changes need to be made to the regulations. 

Public Participation

The legislative process requires council to consider Ordinance 1507 at two meetings. There will be a public hearing at first reading of the ordinance on Monday, February 13, followed by a final vote upon second reading on February 27.  Direction for submitting written comments for the public hearing will published here on February 2. Public comment will not be taken on February 27 unless the hearing is continued from February 13, or unless the city council makes substantial changes to the ordinance requiring a second public hearing.

 

The city will be analyzing all land uses in the upcoming 2024 Comprehensive Plan update, which will include a robust public outreach process. This process will provide staff and elected officials additional time to assess the issue, hear from the public, and ensure our regulations are meeting new guidance and legislation that might be instituted at the state government level. 

 

The city thanks the community for your continued involvement and input into the process. Please reach out the city staff with questions and or comments.

 

Community Development Director Carl de Simas 

Associate Planner Jeremy Hammar

Project Calendar

Staff Research October - December 2021
Planning Commission Study Session
Community Input Period February 4 - February 18, 2022
Planning Commission Study Session March 2, 2022
Planning Commission Study Session March 31, 2022
Planning Commission Study Session April 21, 2022
Planning Commission Study Session
Planning Commission Study Session May 19, 2022
Planning Commission Public Hearing June 2, 2022
Planning Commission Study Session July 7, 2022
Planning Commission Study Session
Planning Commission Public Hearing
City Council Study Session August 18, 2022
City Council Meeting September 12, 2022
City Council Study Session December 15, 2022
City Council Study Session January 19, 2023
City Council Meeting (Public Hearing) February 13, 2023
City Council Meeting February 27, 2023

Past Meetings

Meeting Packet  Recording Date
City Council  Packet  Recording September 27, 2021
City Council Public Hearing Packet Recording October 11, 2021
Planning Commission Study Session Packet Recording January 27, 2022
Planning Commission Study Session Packet Recording March 2, 2022
Planning Commission Study Session Packet Recording March 31, 2022
Planning Commission Study Session Packet Recording April 21, 2022
Planning Commission Study Session Packet Recording April 28, 2022
Planning Commission Study Session Packet Recording May 19, 2022
Planning Commission Public Hearing Packet Recording June 2, 2022
Planning Commission Study Session Packet Recording July 7, 2022
Planning Commission Study Session Packet July 21, 2022
Planning Commission Public Hearing Packet Recording August 4, 2022
City Council Study Session Packet Recording August 18, 2022
City Council Meeting Packet Recording September 12, 2022
City Council Study Session Packet Recording December 15, 2022
City Council Study Session Packet Recording January 19, 2023