A decision on Chelan County's proposed “after-the-fact” inspection fee for short-term rentals is now delayed by a week.

Commissioners were expected to review any written comments and potentially take action on the proposed new fee at their regular meeting Tuesday, but two of the three Commissioners were absent.

Commissioner Kevin Overbay was away on a vacation and Commissioner Tiffany Gering was absent over a family matter although she joined short meeting remotely.

The meeting has now been delayed until next Tuesday, July 12, at 10:20am.

The proposed $250 fee would cover costs when a property owner asks for an inspector to determine if a building is eligible for a short-term rental permit.

Public comment on the proposal was taken in previous commission meetings, while written comment was closed off on July 1.

The County's Community Development department had asked commissioners to consider implementing a new fee. Commissioners then asked Community Development staff to clarify language in the proposed code amendment about when the new fee would apply.

Had they had a quorum, Commissioners could have approved the fee and put it into effect Tuesday.

Community Development is stressing that the fee is not a code enforcement issue, but an inspection fee related specifically to short-term rentals in Chelan County.

Organizations such as the Building North Central Washington and the North Central Washington Association of Realtors have opposed the fee as an attempt to weaponize the permitting process for code enforcement.

Interim director of Community Development Deanna Walter said the department would not send someone to a property unless the property owner initiates a call, requesting that an inspection be made of a building that is already built.

“The constituents are coming to us with this inspection request; we aren’t using it as a code enforcement tool,” Walter said. “Until we do the inspection, we don’t know if the property owner is eligible for a short-term rental permit. This fee covers our inspection costs, including staff time and travel costs.”