July 12, 2019
City Tweaking STR Regulations
Without discussion, the Fort Collins City Council passed an ordinance on the consent calendar that will change the renewal date for short-term rental (STR) licenses from December 31 to June 30. Staff said the adjustment would help streamline year-end tax activity. Current licenses will have an extra six months during this transition. Owners will receive a letter explaining the change and licenses will be updated. Assuming the ordinance passes its public hearing on July 16, licensees will not be charged any additional fees during this one-time license extension.
Council Affirms Support for Affordable and Achievable Housing Strategies
On July 9 the City Council discussed its priorities related to affordable housing as well as feedback on strategies related to mobile home park preservation and resident protections. The staff had requested to work session after the Council held a retreat to set priorities.
In particular, staff wanted more information about two priorities affecting housing: 1) “Mobile home park preservation and resident protections – develop policies/programs to preserve mobile home parks as a source of affordable housing and enhance resident protections, particularly around issues of utility gouging and eviction” And 2) “Affordable and achievable housing strategies such as” purchase and deed restrictions, impact fees, regional partnerships, working with partners such as CSU ad community land trusts, down payment assistance, inclusionary zoning, land bank program and other best practices.”
The staff was given the green light to continue developing policies to support both priorities. In the case of mobile home parks, as Mayor Troxell said, this was just the beginning of the discussion, because this hasn’t been a priority until now, so the conversation was very general.
As far as affordable housing strategies, as usual, there were a variety of opinions. Ross Cunniff proposed increasing the City’s minimum wage as a new affordable housing strategy. Mayor Pro Tem Kristin Stephens was supportive of at least studying this idea. Mayor Troxell pointed out that much work research would be needed to establish a direct link between housing affordability and wage regulation.
Most of the conversation focused on the staff’s list of existing strategies. The six Council members present (Ken Summers was absent) supported the concept of continuing to work on all the affordable housing strategies listed above, with nothing taken off the table. Sue Beck-Ferkiss, the City’s Social Policy and Housing Program Manager, mentioned that a staff report on methods to generate more fees for affordable housing is nearly complete and will be presented to Council soon. Expect much more focus on these topics moving forward.