Glenwood Springs vacation rental buffer system has been successful, but permit prices might increase |

Glenwood Springs vacation rental buffer system has been successful, but permit prices might increase

One of many permitted short-term rentals in the downtown core of Glenwood Springs.
Cassandra Ballard/Post Independent

Glenwood Springs City Council recently reviewed the city’s short-term rental regulations, and staff reported on how the buffer system, which has been in place since June 2019, is doing. 

Short-term rental (STR) permits last for two years for a $500 permit fee, with a 250-foot buffer between permitted STR properties. 

The two years are set and the fee is not prorated for people who purchase in between those set renewal years, Glenwood’s Director of Economic Development Hannah Klausman said during the May 18 Council meeting.

City staff came to council members to ask if they were interested in changing the rate to offer possible prorating, or if they wanted to change any aspects of the rental buffers or rules.

“I will mention that staff is not recommending any changes,” Klausman said. “We are happy with our program. It’s functioning and we don’t hear too much pushback, but you guys might hear something different.”

New applicants for accessory tourist rentals cost $300. Accessory tourist rentals are when a homeowner is able to rent out a single room for short-term stay while they are living in the home. 

Both kinds of rentals are considered vacation rentals and only include residences or rooms that are rented for 30 days or less. 

Renewal permits cost $300 for a short-term rental and $150 for an accessory tourist rental, and do not carry over when a property is sold.

With the buffer system, the city has an interactive map at to let people know if they can qualify for a permit. 

“If a property is 100% covered by a buffer from an existing vacation rental, a new short-term rental application would not be allowed,” Klausman said. 

Other communities use third-party companies to keep track of their short-term rentals, but Klausman said there are not enough in Glenwood to make it necessary. She also said that the city is nowhere near the cap the city set.

“We knew that grandfathered properties that eventually would sell would then start to diffuse out some of the permits that we had that were very focused in one location in town and that has happened,” she said. 

There are about 10 sales downtown that shifted, showing the buffer system has been successful, Klausman said.  

Councilor Jonathan Godes motioned to get more information from staff about additional enforcement on vacation rentals, but the ideas discussed from what other communities are doing sounded to be expensive, time consuming and unreliable. 

“What I will leave you with, Jonathan, is that our staff stays up to date on vacation rental policy that is happening not only in this state but across the country,” Klausman said. “We do keep our ear out for interesting and beneficial things that are coming up. If we do find that something that strikes us as hitting that perfect balance, we will bring the idea back to you.”

Councilor Shelley Kaup made a motion for staff to consider a fee increase in the next cycle of renewals, which passed unanimously. 

Godes said that he wanted to see raising fees only for people who use short-term rentals as a business, and not raise fees for people who rent out their primary residence, though it was not added to the motion.

For our print readers, the interactive map can be found at

Post Independent city and business reporter Cassandra Ballard can be reached at or 970-384-9131.

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