Pitkin County’s short-term rental ordinance set for public comment Wednesday

Pitkin County commissioners are set to take public comment and vote Wednesday on a new proposed ordinance that would impose restrictions on short-term rental properties in Old Snowmass, Woody Creek and other unincorporated areas of the county.

If the five-member board approves the proposal, only owners of properties used as primary residences in unincorporated Pitkin County will be able to be rented out on Airbnb, Vrbo and other short-term rental sites.

The ordinance — which also would exclude residences in the county’s Rural and Remote zoning district from all short-term rentals — is an attempt to both collect sales tax from a rapidly exploding, untaxed market and guard against the “hotelification” of local neighborhoods. It would require short-term renters to obtain a license from Pitkin County, while applicants from legal entities like LLCs or trusts that own properties would have to show an interest in the property.

Wednesday’s regular Pitkin Board of County Commissioners meeting begins at noon, with several items on the agenda before the public hearing for the short-term rental ordinance starts. All board meetings, however, are currently virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic and high rates of transmission in the county.

To make a comment, go to and click on “Watch Meetings,” then click on the prompt for information regarding submitting a public comment at the top of the page. Commenters will need to sign on to the meeting via Zoom to be able to speak.

Allowing only owners of properties used as primary residences to rent them out on a short-term basis is an attempt to try and thwart those who buy properties in the county as investment vehicles and rent them out until they can flip them for a profit. That was the main focus of public comments about the issue, though it began as an attempt to collect more sales tax.

The ordinance would to go into effect April 30 and would allow the maximum number of people to stay at short-term rentals to be twice the number of bedrooms plus two and no limit to the number of rental days.

The city of Aspen and the town of Snowmass Village both already require short-term rental licenses, though specific regulations differ from Pitkin County’s proposal.

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