Vacation-rental permits have gone fast in the last few weeks, since the city started issuing them in late August.
The city began accepting applications in the third week of August, and five permits of the 22 allowed remain in established neighborhood one, which is the area east of East Third Avenue and north of First Street. Eight permits have been issued, and nine are pending in that area, according to the planning department.
More permits remain to be claimed in established neighborhood two along Main Avenue from about 16th Street to about 32nd Street. In this area, eight permits remain of the 17 allowed. So far, four have been issued, and five are pending, according to the planning department.
While permits have gone fast, Scott Shine a city planner, said he was surprised the city hasn’t reached the cap yet.
The planning department also has started monitoring advertisements of unpermitted vacation rentals online, and, so far, they have sent between 20 to 25 letters. They have identified between 30 and 40 unpermitted units total, Shine said.
“They are easy to find because they have to advertise,” Shine told Durango City Council on Tuesday.
The city set the cap on vacation rentals at 3 percent of homes in two of the oldest neighborhoods in town. They are also limited to one per block.
The city was slated to begin issuing permits July 1, and there was a rush of interest at that time, Shine said. But only a few days later, the City Council put in place a moratorium to further review vacation-rental rules.
About seven or eight permits were issued before the new rules were put in place, and they carried forward through the process and are part of the overall 3 percent, Shine said.
Vacation rentals have been hotly debated this year in Durango, but they have also arisen as a problem in other mountain towns like Estates Park, said Greg Hoch, director of planning and community development.
“It depletes the stock of housing in your community,” Hoch said.
Visit www.durangogov.org/vacationrentals to view a map of vacation rentals.