Short-term rental issue returns to Englewood City Council

Earlier ordinance was rejected last year over ADU, enforcement concerns

Joseph Rios
jrios@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 1/13/20

Englewood City Council was nearly at the finish line last October for an ordinance to regulate short-term rentals, a service where homeowners rent out their residence or rooms for 30 days or less. …

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Short-term rental issue returns to Englewood City Council

Earlier ordinance was rejected last year over ADU, enforcement concerns

Posted

Englewood City Council was nearly at the finish line last October for an ordinance to regulate short-term rentals, a service where homeowners rent out their residence or rooms for 30 days or less.

Instead, the ordinance was sent back to the drawing board for the Englewood Planning and Zoning Commission over concerns of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) being used for short-term rentals and how Englewood would enforce the ordinance.

Citizens took turns voicing their opinions on short-term rentals at a Jan. 6 public hearing before Englewood City Council after Englewood Planning Manager Wade Burkholder presented changes to the ordinance. Here's what is new with the ordinance and what some residents had to say about short-term rentals in Englewood.

An improved ordinance?

Language pertaining to enforcement for short-term rentals in the previous ordinance was scarce and included a provision about Englewood's contract with LodgingRevs to monitor and provide staff assistance with enforcement. It also included details saying a landlord of a short-term rental who failed to follow regulations could be fined up to $2,650 or imprisoned for up to 360 days.

This time around, the ordinance Burkholder presented included a more thorough plan to regulate short-term rentals.

Under the new ordinance, an enforcement officer would be responsible for enforcing provisions for short-term renters. The officer would be authorized to issue notices and orders, summons and complaints for prosecution to Englewood Municipal Court. If the officer is reasonably suspicious of any violations, he or she would have the right to access the short-term rental property under the new ordinance.

If a short-term rental operator violates regulations, they could receive a written notice to correct the violation within five days of receiving the notice. Following the notice, the operator would be required to contact the enforcement officer to inspect the property to make sure the short-term rental is in compliance with city code. If the short-term rental owner doesn't correct the violation, they could receive a municipal court order.

“We've really beefed (up the ordinance) to explain how enforcement of these will work moving forward,” Burkholder said during his presentation.

When Englewood City Council rejected the previous ordinance, multiple councilmembers raised concerns regarding ADUs being used as short-term rentals. Last year, Englewood City Council voted for an ordinance to allow ADUs in Englewood. They're seen as an affordable housing option and a way for homeowners to bring in more income. Englewood Mayor Linda Olson previously said she had voted for ADUs to be used as affordable housing.

The previous short-term rental ordinance allowed for ADUs to be used as a short-term rental, and Englewood's Planning and Zoning Commission wants to keep it that way in the new ordinance, Burkholder said during his presentation. The commission stated the purpose of the ADU ordinance is to provide flexibility for changing family situations, alternative types of living space and opportunities to increase property values and to be used as a supplemental source of income. There are no mentions that ADUs can't be used as short-term rentals in the ADU ordinance, Burkholder said. Under the proposed short-term rental ordinance, a short-term rental service could only be in the main house or the ADU — not both.

The proposed short-term rental ordinance would allow short-term rental services to be legal in residential, multi-use and medical zoned districts — the same zoned districts that were proposed last year.

Included in the ordinance is language that require short-term rental operators to acquire a permit via a fee and application. To obtain a permit, operators must prove they own and occupy their property and that the property is in compliance with city code. Short-term rental operators must also include a plan showing parking area near their property and a scale floor plan of the property for a permit. Additionally, operators must have a Colorado sales tax license and a lodging license and tax license from the city.

“I think we're presenting, and the planning and zoning commission is recommending a solid ordinance in order to permit, track, enforce (and) give us more ability to watch what is going on with short-term rentals moving forward,” said Burkholder.

During the public comment period, residents gave mixed reactions to the thought of short-term rentals being operated in Englewood, including Tammy Williamson. She says she has lived next to a short-term renter in the past and called for the city to throw out the ordinance.

“We invested our lives, all of our money, as did everyone else in our neighborhood, to live peacefully in our homes, and you don't get that when you have a hotel next to you,” said Williamson.

Ryan Longenecker purchased a home in Englewood believing he had the legality to use it after asking someone with the city, he said during public comment. He previously used the home as a short-term rental service until he received a notice from the city to shut it down.

“It helps us not supplement our income, but it's most of our income,” said Longenecker.

This time around, the short-term rental matter will be separated into two ordinances. One will be centered around zoning restrictions for short-term rentals while the other one will be related to licensing and applications for the service. Burkholder said it would make for a cleaner process.

Short-term rentals will be discussed again at a Jan. 21 Englewood City Council meeting for first reading.

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