The number of short-term vacation rental properties in Palisade was increased by one after a Public Hearing and approval of an application for a property located at 172 E. 4th Street. The Hearing was the main agenda item for the September meeting of the Palisade Planning Commission, held Monday evening, September 12, 2016.
All commissioners were present for Monday’s meeting, and were able to question the owner of the property, Ms. Michelle Melgares, Fruita Crash Pads, LLC, who was also present.
Melgares is the owner of several short-term rental homes in the Fruita and Grand Junction areas and has owned the Palisade residence since the early 2000s. It was upgraded in 2008 and again in 2013, when it started to be used as a short-term vacation rental. Melgares had been operating the property in absence of a Short-term Vacation Rental permit from the town, not having been aware of the developments in the permitting process over the last few years. Upon notification by the Town’s code enforcement official, Melgares immediately began the application process to bring the residence into compliance.
Findings of Fact by Palisade Community Development Director Ron Quarles recommended approval of the application, based on compliance with the specifications of the current ordinance. 24 property owners within 300 feet of the residence had been notified of the request and of the Public Hearing, but no opposition was received either by the Town or in person at Monday’s meeting. Since the property already meets the approval criteria, and has been operating for nearly three years without noise, parking, or any other incidents, it was a fairly straightforward process, with a unanimous vote of commissioners for approval.
Once approved by the Planning Commission, the property owner must obtain a business license from the Town of Palisade, as well as passing the required fire and safety inspection by the Town’s Fire Department before operating again as a short-term rental. The property will also begin to report and contribute to the Town’s Occupation Lodging fee. This will bring the total number of permitted short-term vacation rental properties to seven currently operating, as well as two properties that were approved but are not presently being used as rentals.
DOLA grant approved
Approval of a $25,000 grant from the Department of Local Affairs was also announced. The grant will be matched with funds from the Town of Palisade to hire professional assistance for a revision of the current Land Development Code and possibly the Comprehensive Plan as well. It is hoped that a revision will bring Palisade’s building and development regulations more into line with those of other surrounding communities, making Palisade a friendlier place to locate and develop a business. The matching funds had been set aside in this year’s budget in anticipation of the possibility of grant approval.
Other topics of discussion at Monday’s meeting included approval of a new, simpler application for sign permits, mainly focusing on the A-frame signs that local businesses favor. A June 20 meeting of interested local merchants was attended by planning commissioners Charlotte Wheeler and Betsy McLaughlin. The commission members were looking for feedback on the current sign ordinance, and possible changes to improve pedestrian access while maintaining the marketing value for merchants. Commissioners approved the simpler application unanimously.
The next meeting of the Planning Commission is scheduled for Monday, October 3, 2016, at 6 p.m. in the public meeting room of the Civic Center at 341 W. 7th Street. Agendas and information about each meeting can be obtained from the town’s website at www.townofpalisasde.org or can be picked up at Town Hall at least 24 hours prior to scheduled meetings. All meetings are open to the public.
In the interest of transparency, Betsy McLaughlin also serves as Chair of the Palisade Planning Commission.