Council to Consider Short-Term Vacation Rental Regulations

The City Council gave the staff permission to proceed with short-term vacation rental (STR) regulations at its June 6 meeting. The draft regulations presented to Council are relatively simple compared to those enacted in other cities, such as Boulder.

Currently, Longmont’s Land Development Code and Building Code currently do not allow short-term vacation rentals of less than 30 days in residential zoning districts. However, with the rising popularity of websites like Airbnb and VRBO, the City felt it was time to create regulations permitting STRs so the City can collect sales tax revenues and license fees for STRs and ensure they do not have an unfair advantage over hotels and B&Bs.

The regulations would allow STRs as a temporary use in all residential zones with a maximum stay of 30 days or less. The regulations would apply to owner-occupied and investment properties. Owners would be required to get a sale and use tax license and comply with the City’s lodging tax.

Some members of Council were clearly not happy with the draft regulations. Joan Peck said allowing investment properties to be used as STRs would hurt neighborhoods and suggested their use as STRs should be prohibited. Polly Christensen argued it was treating homes like commodities and wanted additional restrictions such as one STR per block. Other Council members were more positive and focused on tweaking the draft to ensure life and safety inspections and exempting investment homes with more than five bedrooms from expensive sprinkler requirements. Ultimately, Gabe Santos made a motion to proceed with the regulations, which passed over the objection of Peck and Christensen. Staff will now prepare an ordinance for Council review.

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