A proposal to block vacation rentals from opening in some areas of Durango slated for redevelopment has been shelved for now.
It was one of several land-use code amendments the Durango Planning Commission approved in late September. It would have prohibited new vacation rentals from opening on Camino del Rio, north Main Avenue and neighborhoods that do not have vacation rental caps already in place.
But it was not part of a package of changes the Durango City Council made to some land-use code amendments this week.
The amendment was dropped because rules on vacation rentals are going to be part of a larger conversation the council will have on housing policy, Assistant City Manager Kevin Hall said.
Councilor Chris Bettin raised concerns about prohibiting vacation rentals in some parts of the city during a study session in September.
Some second-home owners in city limits are not interested in renting to full-time residents, but if they are not permitted to use them as vacation rentals, they might sit empty for a large portion of the year, Bettin said at the meeting.
“I think that’s an unintended consequence of the prohibition,” he said.
But if they were used as vacation rentals, those visitors would be spending money in town, he said.
Residents in other neighborhoods also need to have the opportunity to weigh in on how they wish vacation rentals to be regulated, Bettin said in an interview.
“Many of those folks in all of those neighborhoods had not had the opportunity to speak for or against for vacation rentals,” he said.
He described the vacation rental caps put in place in some historic neighbors as good policy that protected the neighborhoods.
The Planning Commission also approved a change in vacation rental parking standards that was not presented to the City Council. The proposed change would have allowed tandem parking spaces – those that block in another vehicle – toward the number of spaces required in the city for a vacation rental permit.
The land-use code amendments that were approved included a small change to the parking requirements for multifamily homes, a new land-use designation for handicraft shops and a change in the public meeting process.
The number of parking spaces required for larger developments, such as an apartment complex, could be reduced if the developer restricts the number of people who can live in the units.
To help streamline the planning process for developers, the city will allow the Planning Commission to act as the Land Use Code and Development Board of Adjustments to handle certain variance requests, such as height variances.