Short-term Vacation Rentals were the main topic of last Monday evening’s meeting of the Palisade Planning Commission.
Penny Shiel, 123 Davis Circle, was the eighth applicant in the relatively new short-term vacation rental permit and registration process in Palisade. Shiel’s three-bedroom residence met all the requirements for approval according to the current ordinance, approved in November 2014. Commissioners approved the application for short-term vacation rental status unanimously based on Town Staff’s findings of fact; the applicant and property met all the requirements. This is the first owner-occupied rental to be approved as a short-term rental.
Being almost two years into the program, the Planning Commission felt that it was time to revisit the topic to review how the ordinance was working. It is felt that some areas may need tweaking, and some new language may need to be added to the current ordinance, particularly dealing with neighbor issues. A process for registering complaints against a short-term vacation rental owner must be developed as well as enforcement policies. The Palisade Municipal Code covers many of the circumstances that have been anticipated, but not all.
Stephanie Rocco, 3819 North River Road, addressed the Planning Commission during Public Comment to make some inquiries regarding a property at 311 Troyer Ave. that had recently been approved as a short-term vacation rental. She was curious as to how much investigation goes into a vacation rental application, particularly elements such as legal ownership of the property.
A discussion then took place among the commission, staff and attending citizens on how to improve the current short-term vacation rental regulations.
Scott Holzschuh of Perfectly Palisade Vacation Rentals, spoke about the current need in Palisade for such rental properties, and the need to consider the benefits of the properties to the local economy when tweaking the language of the code.
A number of other municipal codes were investigated and discussed, comparing how other towns deal with issues like capacity of a rental property, dealing with neighborhood issues, insurance coverage, sales and lodging taxes and whether the process should require a Conditional Use Permit.
Community Development Director Ron Quarles agreed to take the evening’s comments and work up some new language to present to the Planning Commission at their next meeting, scheduled for Monday, June 6, 2016, in the public meeting room of the Civic Center at 341 W. 7th Street. Meetings begin at 6 p.m. and are open to the public. Agendas are available at least 24 hours prior to the meeting on the Town website, www.townofpalisade.org, or posted at Town Hall.
In other business, Betsy McLaughlin was retained as Chair of the Planning Commission, and Ron Gearhart was chosen as Vice-Chair. Commissioners present for the evening’s meeting were Rick Gibson, Ron Gearhart, Betsy McLaughlin, Charlotte Wheeler, Don Bosch, and Ex-Officio Trustee Robynn Sundermeier. Absent was Commissioner Greg Anoia. Also attending were Community Development Director Ron Quarles and Deputy Town Clerk Keli Frasier.
In the interest of transparency, in addition to reporting on the meetings of the Planning Commission and the Board of Trustees, Betsy McLaughlin is also a member of the Planning Commission.