Trustees Worksession: July 24, 2018

by Pitkin News july 24, 2018


The Pitkin Town Council seems to be back to square one in the ongoing controversy on whether or not Pitkin should regulate short term rentals (STR) and, if so, how. Dating back to 2015 the community has experienced acrimony, contested elections, and petitions for referendum, all related to the STR issue. At its July 24 workshop meeting the Town Council appeared to reach consensus on the idea of developing a compromise STR permitting regulation that retains most of the features of Ordinance 2018-1 (repealed) with the addition of a cap on the number of permits issued. Ordinance 2018-1 established STR permit requirements but did not regulate location. The ordinance was repealed in May following the submission of a petition for a referendum and complications related to special election timing requirements conflicting with the Colorado primary election schedule. At the time of repeal of 2018-1 the Town Council agreed to hold a special election prior to the end of the year to determine the fate of STR regulations.

During the workshop meeting Trustee Suzy Metzler offered some amendments to the repealed STR ordinance that would have limited permits to properties located in the business zoning district and would have eliminated a hearing procedure prior to issuance of a permit. Ms. Metzler also suggested it may be possible for the matter to be included in the upcoming November election. Metzler’s suggestions led to a discussion of whether STR regulations should be established by special ordinance or through the zoning code. As the Town Council discussed options the idea of reaching a compromise began to gain traction. Trustee Cory Nasso suggested that perhaps permits could be limited to the business zone with a possible pathway to seeking a permit in the residential zone. As the deliberations unfolded the idea of setting a cap on the number of permits allowed, with no location restrictions, seemed to gather support. Another idea raised was to limit STR operations to specific times of the year, with the possibility that permit operating times could be staggered throughout the year. Following additional discussion and some public comment, the Town Council agreed that Trustees will consult with constituents and bring to another special workshop meeting specific ideas on how to include permit caps in a new STR ordinance that retains many of the regulations included in the original STR Ordinance 2018-1. It was also agreed that some technical assistance may be requested from representatives of the Town of Crested Butte, which has adopted regulations that limit the number of STR permits issued.

In other business the Town Council agreed to seek additional input from County and State officials in relation to inspection of alternate waste disposal systems. A determination of inspection criteria needs to be made in order to assure that alternate systems can be adequately monitored. The need for such criteria became evident as the Board of Health (Town Council) considered a complaint at its meeting held on July 17. Also in relation to the Board of Health responsibilities, the Town Council agreed to a draft job duty list for an Interim environmental health clerk who will oversee the notification and recordkeeping for the Town’s periodic inspection of existing OWTS (septic tank) systems. It was noted that some clarification of system inspection fees and requirements is needed as the OWTS ordinance does not appear to authorize a permit fee or some requirements stated on the inspection form. The interim clerk will serve until such time as the Board of Health has the opportunity to clearly define operational and administrative procedures and responsibilities, as discussed at its July 17 meeting (See Archive Recap of July 17 meeting).

You may listen to the audio recording of this meeting by following this Link.