BOCC has reservations about regulating short-term rentals | News


On Wednesday, the Pitkin County Board of Commissioners moved closer to passing new regulations for short-term rental properties in unincorporated areas of the county.

“Today is not a date for ultimate decisions or ultimate action,” County Attorney John Ely said at Wednesday’s regular BOCC meeting.

Pitkin County’s proposed short-term rental code defines an STR as “housing for compensation for a period of less than 30 consecutive days.”

Although the commissioners carried out a second reading of the STR order on Wednesday, it was actually the third time they had considered the draft licensing regulations.

The BOCC advanced the order to first reading at its December 15 meeting with little to no objection, other than pushing the proposed start date of the program from March 31 to April 30.

However, during the second reading at its January 26 meeting – following much public comment – at least some of the commissioners’ enthusiasm for the specifics of the licensing authority appeared to have waned.

At the time, Commissioner Kelly McNicholas Kury, who also sits on the board of the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority, was frustrated by what she believed to be the indecisiveness of her colleagues.

“Issues have pretty much exploded,” said a staff memo, attached to Wednesday’s package of documents, regarding the BOCC’s previous discussions on the STR.

At Wednesday’s meeting, commissioners backed the requirement that a person must use a property as their “primary residence” if, in fact, they also want to rent it out as an STR.

The county defines principal residence as “the place where an owner, or person in a position of ownership, maintains his legal residence and habitual habitation.”

The proposed short-term rental code clearly states that a “rental or lease does not constitute ownership of property”.

Through the primary residence requirement, the commissioners hoped to prohibit corporations from turning homes into year-round short-term rentals.

“VRBO considers this to be a primary market. Are we a primary market or are we a community? Kury asked Wednesday.

However, while the commissioners supported the primary residence requirement for DODs, they also wanted to find a possible “exception.” The exception would likely be for people who have owned and rented a Pitkin County residence for a long time, but may not call it their “primary residence.”

At times during Wednesday’s discussion, commissioners focused on Redstone, which has particularly seen an increase in vacation rentals and their corresponding impacts.

Any rules or regulations passed by the BOCC in the future will apply only to areas of unincorporated Pitkin County, such as Redstone, and not to the City of Aspen or the City of Snowmass Village.

In addition to supporting the primary residence requirement for licensing, commissioners also liked the idea of ​​banning STRs altogether in rural and remote zoning districts due to lack of emergency services. .

Ultimately, the commissioners continued Wednesday’s discussion until their April 13 meeting, when they will likely take further formal action. It remains to be seen when, exactly, the licensing authority would be operational following an affirmative vote by the board.

“My focus right now is to get something off the books – to get this program off the ground,” Commissioner Patti Clapper said. “We have to make an effort here to move forward.”

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