The city of Durango is considering limiting vacation rentals in three types of residential neighborhoods, an adjustment to its regulations for the popular rentals.
The city has about 120 permitted vacation rentals, most of which are in the downtown area or along north Main Avenue. Some people seek them out as a convenient income source, but some residents have raised concerns about impacts on neighborhoods and the city’s housing stock.
“From what we’ve heard from neighbors, from what we’ve heard from vacation rental companies, we’ve been able to strike that balance,” said Scott Shine, Durango planning manager.
The changes would eliminate vacation rentals in three types of residential neighborhoods: established neighborhood multifamily, residential medium density and residential high density.
The vacation rentals in those neighborhoods would be phased out over time. Only seven permits have been granted for the three types of neighborhoods, Shine said.
The code change would also require new vacation rental permits to be considered on the front end of project approvals for mixed-use developments, where commercial and residential uses are in a single building.
The Durango City Council will hold a public hearing Oct. 20 about the proposed changes, then discuss and possibly adopt the changes.
The city already restricts the number of vacation rental permits that can be issued in other residential neighborhoods. At first, permits were issued by a first-come, first-serve process. Since then, staff established a waiting list, Shine said.
“We saw these starting to become more popular,” Shine said “We saw them in some communities ... that didn’t have a structured program that they regretted the floodgates being opened and it was harder to pull back. We tried to get out ahead of it and be proactive.”
Most of the city’s vacation rentals are located in the Central Business District in downtown units, on the grid of neighborhoods near downtown, avenues along north Main Avenue or in planned developments.
In public input sessions in 2014, some community members raised concerns about crowded parking, increased noise levels or other impacts on neighborhoods. Affordable home ownership is out of reach for many Durango residents, according to a 2018 housing plan. The city wants to preserve existing housing stock, keep homes from being tied up in short-term rentals and promote new housing developments.
“Ultimately, it’s a decision we had to make on the front end to say not everybody can have these permits,” Shine said. “We made a decision as a community to say we want to set these caps.”