More Colorado Resort Towns Tackle RTS | News

Aspen’s recent six-month moratorium on new residential development and short-term rental permits is just one of many similar steps Colorado resort towns are taking to deal with the impacts of a tourist life in mountain communities.

Like Aspen, other Colorado cities cite reasons such as the need to slow down the issuance of STR permits and preserve units for long-term residents for their efforts to regulate vacation rentals, caps on the number of STR authorized to inspection requirements. Aspen board member Rachel Richards said last week that the entire mountain to the west is currently facing the same situation, and compared it to a boulder tumbling down towards towns.

“While we have a pause on any real expansion of these uses at this time, I think it’s pretty clear if you look outside of our immediate Aspen bubble that this is an issue all of us are facing. western resort communities, ”she said. “If there was another route to do it slowly and smoothly, we would, but it’s a boulder rushing through our town and you have to do something to slow the boulder down.”

Other cities have felt the heat as well, and even the moratoria are not unique to Aspen. After voting in July this year to approve a 12-month moratorium on the processing of new STR applications and licenses, Crested Butte board members unanimously rescinded their vote in August. According to the city’s website, all STRs are subject to operational inspections, including parking and garbage, according to a series of ordinances passed in 2017. A total number of STR permits operational at Crested Butte do was not available and the Aspen Daily News was unable to reach a representative for the city for comment at the time of publication.

In Breckenridge, an ordinance went into effect Nov. 2, capping short-term rentals outside lodges and hotels at 2,200. The intention of the ordinance was to slow the number of licenses issued, said Bela Del Valle, housing compliance administrator for the city.

“I feel like this is something that is in place to find a way to find that difficult balance between the resort community, where short term rentals are important to our economy, but we also want to continue to be a city and not just a seaside resort, ”she said. “[It’s] this balance between long-time residents who want to work and live here and raise a family, and be able to welcome our tourists, who are the ones who put bread on our tables.

According to the city’s website, Breckenridge’s full-time population is around 4,500, meaning the ordinance allows almost half of DOSs as residents. Before the ordinance went into effect, there were 2,801 operational vacation rentals in the city that weren’t affiliated with a lodge or hotel, Del Valle said. The city also saw an influx of new permit applications as the ordinance went into effect.

Breckenridge also allows what they call “exempt” DOSs, which Del Valle defined as part of a condominium hotel property or anything else with 24-hour front desk and security. Currently, 1,637 exempt STRs are operational in the city.

Crested Butte, Glenwood Springs, Durango, and Ouray have also capped the number of STRs that can be allowed within city limits or in specific areas. For example, in Ouray, the city council approved an ordinance that came into effect in November to cap all STRs in the city at 120. Community Development Coordinator Lily Oswald said 94 permits have already been issued and 31 more are still being processed.

Ouray city council opted for a cap because it felt it would resolve the impacts of STRs more quickly, and the decision was based on the number of existing licenses, housing units and other data.

“Everyone is trying to deal with the housing and jobs crisis, and it’s a piece of the puzzle,” Oswald said. “It’s a tough time for housing for employment, and Ouray, like many other mountain towns, is geographically confined, so we’re not in a position to just be able to expand. We must use creative opportunities to use the land around us.

Some residents of Ouray choose to run STRs from their primary residence so they can afford to continue living there, Oswald said, but it is less common for people who live elsewhere full time to choose to rent a second home in Ouray for much of the year. This is one of the reasons the city decided to take a closer look at STRs, she said.

“We are trying very carefully to regulate this,” she said. “It’s going to get messier before it gets cleaner, but it will help us regulate better. “

The city of Glenwood Springs also took action in 2019 and capped all STRs at 5% of the city’s total open market residential units. The city issues two types of STRs – a standard STR permit for an entire house and an ancillary tourist rental permit for a room in a house. Currently, there are 11 operational STRs and two ancillary tourist rentals, said city planner Emery Ellingson.

“Our regulations at Glenwood Springs allow for additional accommodation facilities in the community while protecting neighborhoods for a large number of vacation rentals, in addition to preserving accessory housing units for long-term residential use,” did he declare.

Other ski towns, like Vail, are trying to assess the impacts of STRs without a cap or moratorium. STR specialist Matthew VanEyll said city council is collecting data through a third party and will hold meetings next week and in February to discuss the results of an impact study .

VanEyll added that under the city’s current code, which has been in effect for three years, there are 2,414 operational STR permits. Vail’s population is just above that of Breckenridge at around 5,500, according to the 2019 census.

Aspen will continue to assess STRs throughout the duration of the moratorium and the community will be invited to participate in the discussions. In the meantime, Richards has said the issue deserves genuine and deep consideration from the entire Aspen community.

“It’s a balancing act. … These are the legitimate interests of a government and a community, ”she said. “There are a number of inequities that we are seeing, and in my mind, it’s appropriate to take a time out. “

About Brad S. Fulton

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