The Durango City Council has approved reducing the cap on vacation rentals in city neighborhoods.
The council took a first vote on the cap reduction earlier this week. A final vote is expected Tuesday.
Councilor Keith Brant recused himself. He admitted last month to renting his primary residence in the city as a vacation rental last year, violating zoning rules. He lives in a planned development near Fort Lewis College that he said doesn’t provide for a commercial use. City staff has previously said renting a unit for vacation use is a commercial use.
Lawyers for an upset group of residents submitted a referendum against the vacation-rental ordinance in July after the City Council in June limited vacation rentals to 5 percent of homes in each of two zoned neighborhoods, one covering downtown and the other along West Second and West Third avenues. Up to two rentals are allowed per street segment. More neighbors favored a 3 percent cap on permits in their neighborhoods.
A referendum is a petition to the council to repeal an ordinance, which suspends the ordinance pending the referendum vote. If the council rejects it, the proposal can go to a public vote.
The change allows a total of 22 vacation-rental-home permits in the downtown neighborhood and a total of 17 in the avenues neighborhoods. The second rental would have to obtain a conditional-use permit. Residents who apply for a second vacation rental on their street segment must be the primary resident of the property and use the vacation rental part-time. The street segment must have more than five homes facing the street.
Vacation rentals can be located next to each other in mixed-use residential buildings if the applicant shows he or she has distributed local contact information for the vacation rental to all unit owners and tenants in the building.
“I think this really shows there’s going to be a balance between commercialization and neighborhoods,” Mike Todt said. “And neighborhoods are really important, so I think this is really important to us. Thank you.”
Mayor Sweetie Marbury, who supported the 3 percent cap for each of the neighborhoods, said she was thrilled.
”This is wonderful, I think, for my neighborhood,” she said. “The 17 (vacation rental cap number) from 28 (former cap number) – it makes a huge difference.”