County extends moratorium blocking new overnight rental properties

Officials trying to develop rules about nightly rental properties in unincorporated parts of the county

The Grays Harbor Board of County Commissioners extended a moratorium on overnight rentals for three months, through June 3.

In December, the commissioners approved a 90-day moratorium on granting conditional-use permits for nightly rentals. Conditional-use permits are required for homeowners in certain zoning regions who want to rent their property for short terms using services like This moratorium only applies in unincorporated regions of the county.

County officials had hoped to create rules for nightly rentals in unincorporated areas of the county during the first three-month moratorium. The commissioners gave the staff another three months to continue the work.

“In my mind, it’s a public health and safety issue,” Commissioner Randy Ross said. “If they’re not on a sewer system, we want to make sure that the septic system will provide adequately for the number of bedrooms. And that somebody’s looking at the facilities to make sure they meet fire code.”

Ross would like to have this issue resolved before summer when the beds will be most in demand.

The extension passed with votes from Ross and Commissioner Wes Cormier. Commissioner Vickie Raines was absent from the meeting on county business.

Timber sales

The county posted February timber sales back in December, putting up four tracts of timberland to be harvested. Only three of the tracts were bid on, yet the county sold the harvest rights for almost the total amount expected in December for all four.

On Feb. 20, The Vidette reported that the county expected to raise about $1.69 million from the timber sale. The bids accepted Tuesday totaled $1,643,744. The tract that went unsold has an estimated value of almost $400,000. Commissioners were uncertain when or if that tract would be made available for bid.