Glenwood Springs Council taking input on loosening of vacation rental rules
The public will get a chance at tonight’s Glenwood Springs City Council meeting to weigh in on some more proposed changes to the way the city handles vacation rental properties.
Up for discussion, but not expected to be voted on just yet, is a provision to allow accessory dwelling units to be used for short-term tourist rentals.
In addition, council is considering whether to increase the percentage of units under single ownership within multi-family buildings located in the downtown commercial core, such as condominium or townhouse complexes, that can be rented on a short-term basis for visitors.
Last year, Glenwood Springs officials stepped up efforts to require property owners who offer their homes or individual bedrooms as vacation rentals via online sources such as Airbnb.com to register with the city and collect city accommodations and sales taxes on those rentals. An amnesty period was allowed for owners to register without facing a penalty.
Since then, the city has been looking at other ways to loosen the rules for vacation rentals, as long as the owners play by the rules. Last fall, the city agreed to allow short-term, or vacation, rentals as a use within planned unit developments, such as the Glenwood Park, Park East and West, Cardiff Glen and Oasis Creek neighborhoods. Individual homeowners associations can still prohibit them within their covenants, however.
But the latest proposals to open up ADUs and loosen the rules for multi-family buildings have met with resistance from some members of the public, as well as a few city council members.
“I would like to see us make it harder, not easier, to do this,” Councilor Shelley Kaup said at a Jan. 4 work session when the latest relaxing of the rules were proposed.
By allowing an unlimited number of residential units to be made available for vacation rentals, “you’re basically selling out your town, and you lose your residential neighborhoods that are close to tourist centers,” Kaup said.
Other council members said the city should not dictate whether some residential owners can rent their properties on a short-term basis but others can’t.
At that same work session, a majority of council members indicated an interest in allowing either a primary house on a property, or the affiliated ADU on the same property, to be rented as a vacation rental but not both. Currently, city code does not allow ADUs to be rented on a short-term basis, which is defined as less than 30 days.
City planning staff notes that ADUs were created in the 1990s as an allowed use within new residential developments, partly in an effort to provide more long-term attainable housing. One of the arguments against the proliferation of vacation rentals is that they can limit the stock of available long-term rental housing.
The current code also allows just 25 percent of residential buildings with multiple units under the same ownership to be rented out short term. The city is proposing to increase that to 50 percent in the C/2 Commercial Core district, which takes in the historic downtown core area of Glenwood Springs.
The council meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Glenwood Springs City Hall, 101 W. Eighth St.