Friday, September 30, 2011

Glenwood Springs Considering Lifting Ban on Vacation Rentals in Residential Zones

City officials in Glenwood Springs, CO cite potential tax revenues and the opportunity to help those hit hard by economic conditions as reasons.

John Stroud
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado

— City Council, at a Thursday work session, agreed to consider lifting a current prohibition on short-term vacation rentals in the city's residential zone districts.

A possible policy shift could make short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods legal, and subject to the city's lodging tax.

“I'd like to know the history behind this, and whether it's something we want to continue or if it's something we should do away with,” said Councilman Mike Gamba of the rental prohibition, who brought the issue before council.

“Personally, I would be in favor of eliminating it, unless there's some huge impact that I'm not aware of,” Gamba said. “It would seem to present an opportunity for some individuals in the community who have taken an economic hit. It might even be a way for some people to keep their property, instead of it being foreclosed on.”

Council members agreed the proposal is at least worth considering.

The ordinance prohibiting short-term rentals in residential areas has been re-visited by past city councils, city attorney Jan Shute said. The information will be brought back before the current council for consideration.

Councilman Ted Edmonds said short-term rentals are likely happening anyway, regardless of the city ordinance.

If the city lifted the ban, such rentals could be brought above board and city sales and lodging taxes could be collected on them, he and other council members agreed.

In nearby Aspen, vacation rentals of private homes are fairly common. The city council there recently began trying to track such rentals for which local taxes were not being collected.

Aspen homeowners who rent out their properties on a regular basis may also be forced to get an annual business license and related permits.

“It is a very mucky area, and I'm fine with us going back and taking a look at it,” Glenwood Councilman Dave Sturges said. “There is a financial reality that people are faced with.”

Mayor Matt Steckler said the likely reason for the Glenwood Springs ordinance was for the potential neighborhood impacts from allowing vacation rentals, such as excess traffic.

Glenwood Springs city web site:

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