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Letters to the Editor: Thanks, Mayor Anders and Auburn City Council, for keeping short-term rentals out of my neighborhood
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Letters to the Editor: Thanks, Mayor Anders and Auburn City Council, for keeping short-term rentals out of my neighborhood

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Auburn City Hall

Auburn City Hall.

Thank you,

City of Auburn

Many, many thanks to Mayor Ron Anders and to Auburn City Council for their approval on March 16 of an ordinance that will permit short-term rentals (STRs) in 13 zones throughout the city while protecting single-family neighborhoods such as Neighborhood Conservation. In recent years the disruptive presence of SRTs within single-family residential neighborhoods has elicited numerous complaints from homeowners in proximity. Short-term rentals have been particularly problematic in older neighborhoods close to campus and downtown.

Shortly after his election in 2018, Mayor Anders commendably appointed an STR Task force charged with collecting research and citizen input to provide recommendations for a STR Ordinance governing these businesses. The Planning Department’s drafted ordinance, based on the Task Force’s findings and input from the Planning Commission, passed through six iterations incorporating several compromises. The Planning Commission approved the final version with a 7-2 vote on Jan. 25, 2021.

Over 1,100 citizens expressed their support of the Ordinance approved by the Planning Commission and their opposition to an amendment added on Feb. 16 that would have allowed short-term-rental Homestays city-wide. Prior to the final deliberation process, Mayor Anders reviewed the history of the Auburn City Councils’ decades-long commitment to conservation of single-family neighborhoods. He noted the city’s creation of zoning which established strict limitations of activities permitted in those areas which were zoned Neighborhood Conservation (NC) plus protection for other zones that had major elements of single-family housing. We agree with Mayor Anders that this history has been a major asset to the Auburn community as a whole, and we appreciate the Council’s decision to continue that commitment through its final vote to limit short-term-rentals in the same zones delineated by the Planning Commission’s Ordinance. With deep appreciation to Mayor Anders and the Council members who supported the Ordinance,

Linda H. Dean (and neighbors)

Auburn

Let them vote Ever since reconstruction, whites have done their damnedest to keep blacks from voting. Back then it was the Ku Klux Klan and the whip, the gun, fire, and the noose. Later on, in the 1950’s and ’60’s, it was subtler, but effective. There were poll taxes, misinformation, literacy tests, and impossible tasks (explain arcane provisions in state law, recite the constitution, how many beans in the jar?). For those that protested, there were night sticks, attack dogs, and tear gas. In a few cases, bombs.

Last year, during the pandemic, it seemed all this had passed. State governments bent over backward to help everyone vote – easy early voting, no-excuse absentee voting, and extra polling places. Apparently remorseful, now whites are proposing every restriction thinkable. Reduced early voting, reduced polling places, limits on voting by mail, elimination of drop boxes, elimination of no-excuse absentee voting, stricter voter ID requirements, purges of voter lists and more difficult voter registration are all being discussed and not only in the South. Last year’s election was judged to be almost totally fraud-free, but elimination of fraud is the excuse being used for all this flagrant injustice. Just as there was no shame in the lynchers, there is none in the would-be vote suppressers. Not a hint or a flickering shadow of shame.

Bill Walsh

Auburn

More thanks

Thank you Auburn City Council for reluctantly limiting the obscene rental abuses that have been allowed for the past few years. The sad destruction of ‘The Loveliest Village’ downtown and neighborhoods has almost been completed and with the Witten amendments, it would have been finished (with the exception of Ms. Witten’s neighborhood of course). I could continue but Jonathan Stuckey’s opinion in the latest Plainsman explains the short-sighted approach to Auburn’s explosive growth much better than I can.

Hank Gilmer

Auburn

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