Glenwood City Council finally adopts new vacation rental rules
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
After more than six months of debate, Glenwood Springs City Council agreed late Thursday night on new rules and regulations for vacation rental properties.
“I honestly believe that we ought to keep it exactly the way it is today,” Councilman Steve Davis said of the current vacation rental rules and regulations that have been subject to much debate.
The city currently requires a one-time fee of $110. However, Davis went on to make a motion to broaden the requirements, including several council and staff recommendations he said he personally did not agree with.
“We have had the robust discussion. We have had the moratorium,” he said of a council decision late last year to put a halt on new vacation rental permits until the new rules could be written.
“It is time to move on. We have other things to do on this council,” Davis said.
The motion was seconded by new Councilman Tony Hershey and ultimately passed in a 6-1 vote.
The resolution and accompanying ordinance included several new permit stipulations, two of which — the new permit fee and building inspection, with a biennial renewal requirement — take effect immediately.
In order to obtain a short-term rental permit, users must now pay an initial fee of $500, and a $300 renewal fee every two years. For an accessory tourist rental permit, users must pay an initial fee of $300 and a $150 renewal fee, also every other year.
A short-term rental allows a homeowner to rent out their entire residence, whereas an accessory tourist rental permits the ability to rent out a single bedroom or accessory unit.
Permit holders must adhere to a building inspection upon receipt of their initial application and at the time of renewal. The inspection assesses fire and life safety measures, including the presence of functioning smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers, adequate ingress and egress and handrails.
“We wouldn’t be discussing this issue if there wasn’t a public outcry,” Hershey said of the prolonged vacation rental debate that has heard from numerous residents on opposite sides of the issue. “And, it is because people care about this community.”
Rules and regulations including numerical limits, neighbor notification and penalties that amend the city’s municipal code will take effect in late July following a second reading of the ordinance.
The number of short-term rentals permitted in Glenwood Springs, outside of the downtown General Improvements District (GID), can entail 7% of the city’s free market units — approximately 292 permits.
In the downtown GID, 18% of its free-market units may include short-term rentals, which equates to roughly 33 permits. Additionally, with the exception of the GID, a distance buffer of 250 feet must apply between vacation rentals.
Short-term permit applicants also must notify neighbors within 250 feet of their property by mail that they intend to operate a short-term vacation rental.
Property owners must also designate someone within a 30-minute distance who can respond around the clock to any issues that may arise.
The community development director also retains the authority to revoke a permit if a permit holder violates any conditions.
A penalty beginning at $250 for first-time offenders and increasing by $250 for each subsequent offense to as much as $1,000 also was approved.
Additionally, permit holders must submit lodging taxes within the two year permit cycle or they will lose their permit.
“I can live with this compromise just knowing that this is our first stab at trying to protect the city’s supply of housing and protect our neighborhoods as we have been asked to do by our residents,” Mayor Pro Tem Shelley Kaup said.
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