Short-Term Rental Freeze in Aspen on City Council’s Agenda

Permits

Aspen City Council will continue discussions Tuesday about clamping down on the business of short-term rentals by entertaining an ordinance that would effectively ban applications for new licenses in 2022.

Included on the City Council’s agenda for the meeting, set to begin at 5 p.m., are Resolution 124 and Ordinance 26, both of which are related to STR legislation that council members have said they want to adopt before the year ends.

In order to have a first reading of the ordinance Tuesday night, the council first must approve the policy resolution allowing it to make a change to the land-use code as it pertains to short-term vacation rentals.

If and after the resolution is approved — council members at their most recent work session expressed an urgency to rein in STR activity — they’ll get their first look at the ordinance. Approval will advance the ordinance to a public hearing and final approval Dec. 14.

“Typically, Policy Resolution is approved well in advance of First Reading,” said a memo to the council from Philip Supino, the city’s director of community development, in advance of the meeting. “In this instance, due to time pressure surrounding the Council December schedule, the year-end deadline for STR permit renewals, and Council’s stated desire to immediately limit further permit issuance, staff has scheduled Policy Resolution and First Reading for the same meeting.”

Ordinance 26 says in part that its intent is to amend the city’s land-use code “to extend existing Vacation Rental Permits but cease the issuance of additional permits while the program is re-visited.”

At their Nov. 16 work session, the council agreed they want to cap the number of STRs to 2022, allowing only those with a permit this for 2021 to extend those rights into 2022. Supino’s memo said the ordinance, which make the current STR licenses in effect through May 31, would allow the council and staff time to better understand the STR market before it considers other regulatory steps.

“Those measures are viewed by staff as temporary — designed to limit further growth of the STR market while permitting its operational status quo through the ski season,” the memo said. “The measures that would be put in place by the Ordinance will provide Council time to explore options with staff and the public without time pressure.”

The devil is in the details when it comes to Ordinance 26. If passed Dec. 14, it would take effect Jan. 14, meaning STR permits for 2022 can still be issued through Jan. 14. But on Jan. 15, those new 2022 permits would be invalid.

For the time being, STR licenses for 2021 and issued since Dec. 3 will be valid through May 31, according to the ordinance.

The city’s community development and finance departments are recommending approval as well.

The Aspen Times I Tuesday, December 7, 2021


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