The proposal to ban short-term vacation rentals in Joseph hit a roadblock when the City Council deadlocked on a 3-3 vote at its Jan. 14 meeting. The proposal was intended to curb the commercial rental of homes located in residential zones.
Joseph Mayor Dennis Sands announced two proposals: One that would ban the rentals outright, and a second would that would instead create a regulation process.
“It’s a tough issue,” Sands said. “We’re a tourist town/resort area, so the demand for these is somewhat higher than for other communities.”
He added that counterbalancing the tourist demand was the tight rental and housing markets in Joseph.
“That’s been my main motivator in saying no to overnight rentals.”
Councilor Rodd Clark argued that the two markets were unrelated.
“I think a program that’s well-regulated has a place in a resort community especially,” Clark said.
Sands countered by saying the two markets may not be directly related but certainly affected one another. He added that if more housing became available he might reconsider his position.
The council then voted on an outright ban and ended the night deadlocked at three votes a side. Councilors Sharon Newell, George Ballard and Mayor Sands voted for the outright ban, while Rodd Clark, Teresa Sajonia and Tyler Evans voted against the ban. Councilor Pearl Sturm was absent.
Sands said another vote on the proposal is slated for the next council meeting on Feb. 4.
“Hopefully we can get all the council members together for that meeting,” he said.
The council also awarded hotel/motel tax grants to the following recipients:
• Alpenfest: $250.
• Joseph Chamber of Commerce: $500.
• Wallowa Valley Music Allinace: $500.
• Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center: $500.
• New playground equipment for city park: $2,500.