Carbondale Trustees Sue Short-Term Lease Limits | News

The prospect of restricting short-term rentals sparked strong attendance at a special Carbondale board meeting on Tuesday. Over 20 people have joined the board and staff, online and in person.

The discussion was framed by the efforts of Community First Carbondale, a group formed about six months ago to address this same problem – “the link between the housing crisis and the proliferation of short-term rentals,” as argued. describes Kevin Rayes, who also works as a planner for the town of Aspen.

The CFC collected 110 signatures for a voting initiative to limit short-term rentals – defined as “a property, apartment or room rented for a period of 29 consecutive days or less” – to only primary residences in Carbondale, and to take advantage of a 10% Tax plus license fees for implementation and enforcement, with the remaining funds allocated to affordable housing.

The group’s proposal also designates that medium-term rentals – between 30 and 90 consecutive days – are allowed with a permit for residences not occupied by a full-time citizen.

Mayor Dan Richardson introduced the topic, saying Carbondale “looked at the possibility of regulating short-term rentals several years ago” but “couldn’t agree to any regulations at the time” beyond require that short-term rentals pay a 2% Lodging Tax.

When the mayor learned of CFC’s efforts, he felt it was time for a conversation.

Representing CFC, Rayes, Shirley Powers, Ali O’Neal and Chris Hassig were seated across from the directors. Rayes described the negative impacts on neighborhoods when residential homes act as “near hotels,” with new tenants every few days.

“I have seen first-hand how short-term rentals undermine the zoning process,” said Rayes, describing the effort to formulate a comprehensive plan, with tens of thousands of dollars spent on a consulting firm for conduct public awareness activities and collect data to determine how a community would like to develop.

“The new housing stock added should be beneficial to residents, and not retroactively converted into short-term rentals,” Rayes said, “undermining all parts of this process and the purpose of residential neighborhoods.”

Adding urgency to the matter, the city of Aspen recently put in place a six-month moratorium suspending vacation rental permits. With implications of this action likely to impact Carbondale and other communities, “We need to keep our foot on the gas,” Rayes advised, “and get an ordinance passed as quickly as possible.”

The estimated 40 short-term rental units are in service within city limits, determined by connecting to AirBNB and VRBO as a customer. “Each is a unit that could be a long-term rental for a local,” she said.

“I fully support everything,” said administrator Luis Yllanes of the proposal. “It’s well documented and represented in a way that we can really look at. I’m glad you didn’t try an outright ban, that would have been more difficult to resolve.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, 10 people spoke. Among them, Alyssa Reindel, who founded Ever Green Zero Waste with her husband, described her experience as a tenant for over a decade in Carbondale.

“It was difficult,” she said. “We met some great landlords when we came here, they let us start our business because they didn’t raise the rent for 10 years. “

Reindel and his family have now learned that their current rental is about to go on the market. She is “in turmoil, in the process of being prequalified,” and despite the success of her companies, which won the state’s Recycler of the Year award in 2019, they are struggling to find anything. it is possible to rent or to own.

“We haven’t paid ourselves regularly or enough, but we have been working on it for two years, in the hope that with the new location our children can at least finish high school,” she said.

Former city planner Mark Chain has likened the problem to a virus, having transformed over the past two years and “transforming as we speak.” He stressed that regional cooperation will be necessary to truly address the issue.

Valley resident Brittany Haley joined by Zoom and spoke on behalf of businesses with short-term rentals, like the one she operates in the area. She said 95% of her clients are second home owners and that if there was no short-term rental the homes would sit empty with a loss of tax revenue for the community.

Haley also pointed out that people have made large investments that are based on short-term rentals and said her business pays more than 15 people, $ 40 an hour. She warned that the CFC’s proposal would have “extremely damaging results.”

With the general agreement of the trustees that something needs to be done, Mayor Richardson proposed to formulate a statement of the problem and objectives with a series of dedicated working sessions.

The discussion will continue at the next trustees’ working session on January 18, which will also be the first meeting with Lauren Gister, the new general manager. The focus will be on things the board can do without an election, namely permits, license caps, fees and penalties, ideally by March. Later, the possibility of a tax will be explored.

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