Sex shops could be directed to Bodo

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Sex shops could be directed to Bodo

Adult businesses would be zoned to industrial park
Council looks at vacation rentals, food trucks

City Councilor Sweetie Marbury fears Durango would turn into a “beach town” if the city loosens its regulations on vacation rentals.

Homes, she said, would be predominately inhabited by tourists instead of full-time residents. Marbury wants to preserve the kind of neighborhood where “you can borrow eggs” and get to know people.

Councilor Paul Broderick quipped that Marbury still could have coffee with the vacation renters. He later added, “It was 10 degrees this morning. We’re not going to become a beach town.”

Because of a stalemate mostly between Marbury and Broderick and Christina Rinderle, who favor easing the restrictions on vacation rentals, city consultant Todd Messenger was tasked Tuesday with suggesting some possible compromise solutions.

Vacation rentals are currently limited by a city regulation allowing only one for every 500 feet, typically a city block. They’re not allowed in newer, single-family neighborhoods.

Messenger was asked to present three different proposals showing how the 500 feet rule might be reconsidered, such as on a radius basis or allowing vacation rentals to be located on the other side of an alley.

Broderick suggested just shortening the 500 foot requirement.

Greg Hoch, the city planning director, advised there could be a “firestorm” if the city was not careful in tweaking its vacation rental rules. Residents already feel they’re arbitrarily enforced.

Rather than as response to a controversy, vacation rentals are up for reconsideration because the city is updating its land-use codes.

Current regulations were put in place to preserve housing for residents, officials said.

Fifteen vacation rentals have opened up since the 500 foot rule went into effect about four years ago, although officials recognized there are many more that operate illegally.

Broderick and Rinderle argued fears are misplaced.

Addressing concerns about noise, parking and trash, Rinderle noted that most vacation renters are families and older couples. The typical rental “is not the party house,” she said.

Broderick wondered how many homes would be desirable as vacation rentals anyway.

“Who wants to come to Durango and stay in a 1950s tract house?” Broderick said.

In another contentious land-use issue, the city appears likely to keep its current regulations on food trucks and hot-dog carts.

Food trucks have become popular in big cities, where multiple trucks typically set up in a designated area with a common seating and public rest rooms.

Durango could probably allow a similar arrangement, but officials wondered where they could go. Hoch suggested the Bodo Industrial Park because there are so few lunch options there.

If a business operates for longer than six months in the same location, it should be required to make the normal improvements, like offering rest rooms for customers and staff, that are expected of regular “brick and mortar” restaurants, officials said.

While Durango does not allow food trucks to operate in the street or in a public right of way, it does allow them under certain conditions, such as special events or if they operate on a private property, such as the parking lot of a big-box store, and if they get a business license and pay sales taxes.



jhaug@durangoherald.com

Sex shops could be directed to Bodo

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