I am wondering if anyone has an opinion on the best way to regulate short term vacation rentals, either by conditional or special use permit, or by uniform short term use regulations.
Controversy is brewing in the small mountain town where I sit on the planning commission. This summer our town manager sent out cease and desist notices to four owners of single family homes listed on VRBO because the town's land use code does not list short term rentals as a use by right in the residential district. Accordingly, one of the home owners submitted a special use permit application so that he could continue to rent his property to vacationers. Against the recommendations of the town attorney and the town manager, the board approved the special use permit with a slew of conditions in order to mitigate any negative impact to the surrounding residents. The attorney and the manager are against allowing any commercial uses in the residential zone district until uniform regulations are adopted, even though there already exists a process for approving special use permits. So, should the the little town of 250 spend its resources developing short term rental regulations, or should it let the other 3 property owners apply for special use permits (did I mention that the town doesn't license businesses?)?