Woodland Park City Council Approves Short-Term Rentals Ordinance Amendments; upcoming public hearing | Mail from Pikes Peak


The Woodland Park City Council meeting on October 3 began with a working session on the 2023 budget during which council members made a few small suggestions. The 2023 budget order will be ready for initial publication on November 17.

Once the regular meeting started, there was only one topic on everyone’s mind: short-term rentals. The meeting with a deceptively short agenda turned into a marathon as council members approved several often conflicting amendments and more than 20 people registered to speak for or against the ordinance.

Planning Director Karen Schminke reviewed the ordinance that was tabled for first reading at the Oct. 20 meeting.

After his recap, Councilman Rusty Neal moved a motion to approve the ordinance with a long list of amendments using legal language he received from City Attorney Geoff Wilson. Mayor Pro Tem Kellie Case seconded his motion and amendments.

After Neal added his amendments, other board members made their own subamendments, each of which had to be approved to be added to Neal’s motion.

Council members proposed and approved the following sub-amendments:

Allow all non-owner occupied STRs already licensed in residential areas to continue operating until the building is sold, the owner decides not to renew the license or it is revoked. These would be legacy licenses.

Remove caps and distance requirements for all non-owner occupied STRs already permitted in any zone. The caps would only apply to single-family and planned unit development areas.

Allow owner-occupied STRs in all areas where the owner resides with no caps or distance restrictions.

Deciding whether a residence is owner-occupied is already part of the order. “Owner Occupied” will be based on primary residence documents such as tax rolls, driver’s licenses, Colorado IDs, and voter registrations.

Also in the existing ordinance – owner-occupied STRs will not need business licenses but will be taxed like accommodation.

After these sub-amendments were approved to be added to Neal’s motion, he made another amendment – to make STRs a permitted use in single family areas and PUDs (Planned Urban Developments).

His motion was approved by a vote of 4 to 3.

When Councilman Robert Zuluaga noted that council had just approved a public hearing ordinance containing conflicting amendments, Wilson said council will have to resolve the disputes at the hearing.

After Neal’s motion was approved, councilors David Ott and Zuluaga reviewed definitions in city codes to show that STRs should be defined by use and the city should never have issued licenses commercial STR. Zuluaga also suggested that the city repay any tax funds it collected on “illegal STRs.” This idea did not catch on.

Mayor Hilary LaBarre allowed public comment and limited speakers to three minutes. Some spoke in favor of the ordinance, including endorsing the concept of inherited licenses.

Others wanted to kill the ordinance and ban STRs altogether.

Frances Sinel has renewed her request that Neal, LaBarre and Case recuse themselves for conflicts of interest.

Former councilor Stephanie Alfieri, who was in the audience, agreed the three should recuse themselves. “(Frances) Marie Sinel and I agree on almost nothing, but we agree on that,” she said.

LaBarre said she has no conflict of interest — her stepfather Pete LaBarre doesn’t own an STR, she doesn’t, and she doesn’t have any clients who do.

“I have an office in the Keller Williams building, but I don’t work for or with Kellie in the sale of real estate,” she said. “I only work for myself.”

Neal said he withdrew his application for an STR license and had no intention of renting his house as an STR. “My wife and I will live in our house until we sell it,” he said.

There were a few voices advocating compromise and finding common ground.

Jeremy Lyons said STRs should be treated the same as long-term rentals. “The difference is only one day,” he said. “If it is rented for up to 30 days, it is a short-term rental. If it is rented for 31 days or more, it is a long term rental.

“We don’t want to destroy the livelihoods of our fellow STR owners who have relied on city-issued licenses,” said former Woodland Park planning commissioner Jerry Penland. “Some say ban all STRs, others say anything goes but you have a lot of common ideas. … You have made a good start. You can find a compromise. time.

“Conflict of interest decisions are personal – you have to live with the consequences,” said Mike Nakai. “Don’t let this tear you apart. Please don’t go back to the days when every meeting was a catfight. We have to find common ground. »

He said STR licenses should never have been issued and the city should have followed its own laws — when a chart says unlisted use is unauthorized use.

An initial posting order that would have extended the STR moratorium into the new year was filed to give Wilson time to research a question about renewing STR licenses.

“(All) business licenses expire on December 31,” Case said. “If you extend the moratorium, are you also extending license renewals? Do the licenses continue until we decide what to do or are they renewed? »

Wilson said there was still time for him to research the matter and push the order through the public process in two meetings before the moratorium expires on Dec. 15.


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