PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles City Council candidate said he knowingly operated a short-term rental in a zone not permitted under city regulations, but added that he no longer does so and is urging a change in the regulations.
Jim Haguewood, a real estate agent and candidate opposing appointee Amy Miller for Position 5 on the City Council, was asked about his rental in a Sept. 14 candidate forum and agreed that his rental was operating outside of city code.
“That’s correct,” Haguewood said at the forum, “as were the rest of them.”
If elected to the city council, Haguewood would be involved in voting on the city code.
The rental, owned by Haguewood and his wife, is located on Cherry Street and zoned by the city as R9, Residential Single Family, where short-term rentals — defined as 30 days or less — are not permitted by the city.
Speaking to Peninsula Daily News, Haguewood said he was aware of the regulations when operating the property as a short-term rental (STR).
The rental — which is still being advertised on the short-term rental website VRBO — is currently being leased to a long-term tenant, Haguewood said, and was operated as an STR for only a short period in the summer of 2022.
Haguewood has said the code concerning STRs needs to change and has advocated before the council to reform its regulations.
He also said the city has not been enforcing its short-term rental regulations and that he never received any notification from the city about his rental.
“The city previous to about six months ago was not enforcing and not taking that into account, and there was no complaint, there wasn’t any nuisance, it’s on my own property, it never affected anybody,” Haguewood said.
“My wife and I have prided ourselves in being, if not the best, pretty close to the best landlords and property managers in Port Angeles for 30-some years.”
Haguewood said the rental is still being advertised but is unavailable.
“It doesn’t make any sense to discontinue that if in the future this thing gets straightened out and I want to do it again,” Haguewood said. “It’s very costly to do that, to take it down and put it back up with those platforms. It’s on there but if you try to book something you’re not going to be able to do it.”
Short-term rentals provide flexible housing that wouldn’t otherwise be available, Haguewood said, and are an asset to the community.
“(STRs) provide lodging for guests that come here in the summertime, they provide lodging for medical personnel on a monthly basis a lot in the wintertime, they provide lodging and housing for temporary construction workers, it’s the most flexible housing supply that we have,” Haguewood said.
“And I would also add that in today’s tourism industry, this is generally across the world almost, travelers desire unique experiences and they desire that kind of lodging experience.”
Short-term rentals have become a source of controversy in many communities across the country with some arguing they reduce housing stock for local residents and increase rents.
The city’s current STR code was put in place in 2017 and limits the rentals to medium and high-density residential zones and commercial zones. In June, the council passed a moratorium on any new short-term rentals in residential zones and has hired a consulting firm to collect data on the rentals with the goal of drafting new guidelines.
Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at email@example.com.