Glenwood Springs extends vacation rental authorization to subdivisions |

Glenwood Springs extends vacation rental authorization to subdivisions

One of the many advertised vacation rentals located in downtown Glenwood Springs.
John Stroud | Post Independent

Glenwood Springs has taken another step to try to legitimize short-term vacation rentals in town, allowing them as a specific use in planned-unit developments.

City Council last week voted to permit short-term rentals of less than 30 days in planned subdivision neighborhoods where they had previously been prohibited.

The ordinance, adopted unanimously, allows for vacation rentals as a use in neighborhoods such as Glenwood Park, Cardiff Glen and Oasis Creek, unless individual homeowners’ associations act to prohibit them.

“Short-term rentals have in recent years become a more common use of real property within the city and were not frequently anticipated in the covenants of planned unit developments in past years,” the ordinance reads.

That resulted in few planned unit developments specifically listing short-term rentals as an allowed use of residential units.

Further, “the Glenwood Springs City Council believes that a broad and expansive view of real property rights favors permitting short-term rentals within planned unit developments, unless such activity is expressly prohibited by applicable covenants.”

In doing so, council also reiterated its push to make sure units being used for vacation rentals are properly registered with the city and collecting appropriate city and state sales and lodging taxes.

Council earlier this month granted a 30-day amnesty period for any illegal short-term rental units located within city limits to come into compliance, otherwise the city will begin issuing notices and going after back taxes.

The new provision potentially effects 677 homes located in several neighborhoods outside the historic central Glenwood Springs core area.

As of last week, the city had 64 short-term rental units and accessory tourist rentals (single bedrooms in an owner-occupied house) permitted through the city, according to city planner Hannah Klausman. Three are located in planned-unit developments.

To date, 18 units have been identified around Glenwood Springs that are not permitted but are listed on one of two vacation rental websites, Airbnb or Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO), she said.

The city has received numerous requests by owners of units in planned unit developments to be able to offer them as vacation rentals, who have been told they can’t, Klausman said.

Homeowners in the Oasis Creek subdivision at one point considered adding vacation rentals as an allowed use, but the effort failed due to concerns expressed by full-time residents, she related.

Council’s action will at least remove any city hurdles for owners to offer up their homes for short-term rent.

The practice has come under criticism in some sectors, including from owners of commercial bed and breakfasts, hotels and motels who say private homeowners have a competitive advantage and don’t have to comply with parking and other code requirements.

Affordable housing advocates have often argued that allowing short-term vacation rentals removes potential long-term lease housing from the available inventory

City Council expects to have a follow-up discussion about short-term rentals and compliance issues in January.

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