When the Sitka Assembly meets tonight (3-8-22), it will consider a temporary moratorium on new short-term rental permits in residential zones for one year. 

Short-term rentals have gained popularity in the last decade, as online platforms like Airbnb and VRBO have grown to dominate the vacation rental market. Between 2019 and 2020 the number of conditional use permits for short-term rentals in Sitka more than doubled.  Some Sitkans are concerned that the short-term rental boom is making affordable housing less accessible.

The intent of the ordinance, according to a memo from sponsors Kevin Knox and Kevin Mosher, is to protect the availability of affordable housing in Sitka, by curbing short-term rentals, at least temporarily. Those that are already permitted will still be able to legally operate – but without a conditional use permit, the ordinance makes renting a residential property to someone for less than 14 days illegal. 

In other business, the assembly will consider raising cruise ship tender fees by just under seven percent. And it will consider reconvening a “bear task force” to investigate Sitka’s recurring problems with bears, after 14 were euthanized last year. 

View the full meeting agenda here

The Sitka Assembly meets at 6 p.m. tonight. Raven News will broadcast the meeting live, following Alaska News Nightly.