Pitkin County’s short-term rental ordinance will go out for public comment on Wednesday

Pitkin County commissioners are expected to gather public comment and vote Wednesday on a proposed new ordinance that would place restrictions on short-term rental properties in Old Snowmass, Woody Creek and other unincorporated areas of the county.

If the five-member council approves the proposal, only owners of properties used as primary residences in unincorporated Pitkin County will be eligible to rent on Airbnb, Vrbo and other short-term rental sites.

The order – which would also exclude residences in the county’s rural and remote zoning district from all short-term rentals – is an attempt both to collect sales tax in a booming untaxed market and to hedge against the “hotelization” of local neighborhoods. Short-term tenants would need to obtain a license from Pitkin County, while applicants from legal entities such as LLCs or trusts that own properties would need to show an interest in the property.

Wednesday’s regular meeting of the Pitkin County Board of Commissioners begins at noon, with several items on the agenda before the start of the public hearing for the short-term rental ordinance. However, all board meetings are currently virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic and high transmission rates in the county.

To comment, go to PitkinCounty.com and click on “Watch Meetings”, then click on the information prompt about submitting a public comment at the top of the page. Commentators will need to connect to the meeting via Zoom in order to speak.

Only allowing owners of properties used as primary residences to rent them out on a short-term basis is an attempt to try to thwart those who buy properties in the county as investment vehicles and rent them out until they can turn them to profit. This was the main focus of public comment on the matter, although it began as an attempt to collect more sales tax.

The order would come into effect on April 30 and would allow the maximum number of people to stay in short-term rentals at twice the number of bedrooms plus two and no limit on the number of rental days.

The City of Aspen and Town of Snowmass Village already require short-term rental licenses, though specific regulations differ from Pitkin County’s proposal.

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