Trustees Work Session: November 26, 2018

by Pitkin News November 27, 2018


A special Town Council meeting was convened on November 26 to review the tainted results of the November 6 ballot question concerning the future of short term rentals (STRs) in Pitkin. Gunnison County provided the Council with the troubling news that the 34-33 vote in favor of restricting STRs in the residential district included three votes from individuals who do not reside in Pitkin. At the special meeting the Council discussed what the next step should be in order to attempt to resolve the four-year concerning STRs.

Early in the discussion it became evident that the consensus of the Town Council was that nothing would be gained by investing additional time and expense to hold another election on the short term rental issue. The town has struggled since 2015 to resolve the matter and the Council believes the November 6 election results clearly indicate there is not a decisive majority position on the issue. Council members agreed that it is their responsibility to seek a resolution to the controversy but acknowledged it is a daunting task. Several strategies to guide future action on the STR issue were discussed. These included revisiting the January 2018 short term rental ordinance that was subsequently repealed, pass an ordinance with the understanding a referendum petition could follow, or seek a compromise solution. The compromise option was determined by consensus to be the best course forward in the hopes that the Town can identify an acceptable solution and move past the acrimony of the past several years.

As the idea of compromise came into more focus during the meeting the Council agreed to dedicate the bulk of its January meeting to an open discussion of STR regulations between the Council and local residents. The Council plans to briefly discuss some ground rules for the “Town Hall” style meeting during the December regular Council meeting. Council member agreed that each Trustee should seek input on the issue from community members prior to the January discussion. Among the issues Trustees could discuss with individuals are concerns of those whose residence is affected by adjacent STRs, what changes residents suggest, what concerns about possible regulation do operators of STRs have, and do people believe there is demand for more STRs or should the number of STRs be restricted.

At the of the meeting the Council took formal action by unanimously passing a motion to take no further action on the November 6 election results with the understanding the Council will work toward adoption of a compromise STR ordinance.

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