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DC-23-0001: Text Amendments to the Land Use Code related to Short-Term Dwelling and Vacation Rentals

The Boulder County Community Planning & Permitting office at 2045 13th St., Boulder is open to the public on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Appointments are available on Tuesday but are not required. Schedule an appointment.

DC-23-0001: Text Amendments to the Land Use Code related to Short-Term Dwelling and Vacation Rentals

Mountain landscape looking west

This is not Boulder County’s Short-Term and Vacation Rental Licensing page. Visit our Short-Term and Vacation Rental Licensing page.

Approval of Short-Term Dwelling Rental Text Amendments and Licensing Ordinance No. 2023-02 by the Board of County Commissioners, Effective March 5, 2024.

On January 9, 2024, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) held a public hearing to consider adoption of the proposed Short-Term and Vacation Rental text amendments (Docket DC-23-0001) and licensing ordinance (No. 2023-02).

The BOCC approved Docket DC-23-0001: Text Amendments to the Land use Code related to Short-Term Dwelling and Vacation Rentals with the following conditions:

  1. The Land Use Code text amendments shall only be effective if adopted concurrently with Ordinance No. 2023-02: An Ordinance by the Board of County Commissioners for the County of Boulder for the Licensing of Short-Term Dwelling Rentals and Vacation Rentals within the Unincorporated Area of Boulder County.
  2. 4-507.E will be modified to allow Vacation Rentals on subdivided land in the Upper St. Vrain Census County Division (CCD) while continuing to prohibit Vacation Rentals in subdivisions in the Bald Mountain CCD.

The final text amendments were approved by the BOCC on January 9, 2024, incorporating the conditions outlined above. Final adoption of Resolution 2024-013 – DC-23-0001: Text Amendments to the Land Use Code Related to Short-Term Dwelling and Vacation Rentals was adopted on February 13, 2024, at a business meeting of the Board of County Commissioners. View Resolution 2024-013, effective March 5, 2024.

The BOCC also approved Ordinance No. 2023-02, subject to the following conditions:

  • Modify A.9 in Section 1 to remove “for guests.”
  • Modify C in Section 2 to allow for one license of each type and strike language related to historic units.
  • Modify A.1 in Section 4 to read “Complete Application.”
  • Strike A.7 in Section 4.
  • Modify A.9 in Section 4 to state that property taxes must be paid to date and that staff will verify property taxes are paid to date.
  • Add the following to Section 4: “D. Notice. For Short-Term Rental Licenses and Vacation Rental Licenses, Boulder County will provide notification by U.S. Mail, first-class postage or e-mail to all owners of immediately adjacent parcels when a complete license application is received.
  • Modify Section 6.A.1.a to clarify that occupancy is limited to the total number of persons who may remain overnight at the Licensed Premises while the Dwelling Unit is offered for rental.
  • In Section 7.B adjust 3.5 percent to 4 percent and proportionally adjust B.1 and B.2 to read Upper St. Vrain CCD: 194 Vacation Rental Licenses and Bald Mountain CCD: 83 Vacation Rental Licenses.
  • In Section 9.B strike “under Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure 106(a)(4).”
  • Strike Section 11.C.

At a Business Meeting on January 30, 2024, the BOCC made two additional edits. The first accepted a clarification from staff that would allow a Primary Dwelling Short-Term Rental License issued under Licensing Ordinance No. 2020-01 to remain effective until its expiration or until two years after the effective date of Licensing Ordinance No. 2023-02, whichever comes first. The second change included the addition of language to Section 6.A.2 requiring the Licensee to post their license in a prominent location within the Dwelling Unit.

The final draft of the Licensing Ordinance was adopted with amendments on the second reading on January 9, 2024, and approved on final reading at a regular business meeting on January 30, 2024. View Ordinance No. 2023-02, effective March 5, 2024.

Documents:


Past Meetings and Hearings

Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) Public Hearing – January 9, 2024

Community Planning & Permitting Department Docket DC-23-0001: Text Amendments to the Land Use Code related to Short-Term Dwelling and Vacation Rentals

Text amendments to the Boulder County Land Use Code related to the Short-Term Dwelling and Vacation Rental uses in Article 4-507.E, Article 4-516.X, Article 4-516.Y, and any other related Articles and provisions necessary to integrate these changes. The proposed changes affect the unincorporated areas of Boulder County, not in cities like Boulder or Longmont. Boulder County’s unincorporated areas comprise the rural, mountainous and plains communities that are not part of any incorporated municipality.

Documents:

Planning Commission Public Hearing – Oct. 18, 2023

Planning Commission recommended that the Board of County Commissioners approve Docket DC-23-0001 and proposed recommendations for the BOCC’s consideration. The Board of County Commissioners Hearing for DC-23-0001 Text Amendments to the Land Use Code related to Short-Term Dwelling and Vacation Rentals is scheduled for Jan. 9, 2024 at 1 p.m.

On September 20, 2023, staff presented text amendments to the Boulder County Land Use Code related to the Short-Term Dwelling and Vacation Rental uses in Article 4-507.E, Article 4-516.X, Article 4-516.Y, and any other related Articles and provisions necessary to integrate these changes. In addition to staff’s presentation, the Planning Commission received testimony from members of the public about the proposed regulations. Planning Commission tabled Docket DC-23-0001 to Oct. 18, 2023.

At the Oct. 18, 2023, Planning Commission meeting, the Planning Commissioners resumed discussion on Docket DC-23-0001. The Planning Commission recommended that the Board of County Commissioners approve Docket DC-23-0001 Text Amendments to the Land Use Code related to Short-Term Dwelling and Vacation Rentals and adoption of the proposed text amendments with the following condition:

  • The Board of County Commissioners concurrently adopts the proposed Short-Term and Vacation Rental Licensing Ordinance.

Additionally, the Planning Commission directed staff and the Board of County Commissioners to consider the following:

Use Categories and Processes

  • Require Short-Term and Vacation Rental License applicants to notify immediately adjacent property owners and those who share access at the time of application submission rather than after a license is issued.

Proposed Changes related to Vacation Rentals

  • Allow Vacation Rentals in the Agricultural and Rural Residential zone districts with a cap in those zoning districts limited to the current number of Vacation Rentals in the Plains CCD, which might allow for conformance with the new regulations rather than properties becoming non-conforming uses.
  • Allow Vacation Rentals in subdivisions.
  • Strike the requirement that Vacation Rentals be rented for a two-night stay minimum.

Proposed Changes to Short-Term Rentals

  • Planning Commission discussed the proposed exception that would allow a Short-Term Rental to be rented for up to 30 days total during a calendar year while the owner or tenant are not present. Although the Commissioners ultimately determine that 30 days was acceptable, they suggest the Board of County Commissioners consider a number greater than 30 days but less than 60 days total.
  • Strike staff’s proposal to modify the definition of a primary residence from a residence where the owner resides for 6 months to 9 months—maintain the definition of primary residence at 6 months.

Other Conforming Changes in the Land Use Code

  • No changes or recommendations.

Proposed Changes to the Licensing Ordinance

  • Consider options for ensuring shared maintenance of privately owned shared access roads that serve Vacation Rentals.
  • Establish a means of checking with the Sheriff’s Department to identify any complaints associated with Licensed Premises during the Licensing Period to supplement County records and inform licensing renewal review.
  • Implement the recommended caps in the Mountains and introduce a cap in the Plains area to accommodate the Vacation Rentals that would become nonconforming uses should the Board of County Commissioners approve the proposed regulations (see 2).
  • Establish a trigger for a review of the proposed licensing caps when the cap is approached or met.
  • Consider options to ensure that Vacation Rental Licenses are at least minimally used by the Licensee, to ensure licenses are not being held without use.

Documents:

Planning Commission Public Hearing – Sept. 20, 2023

Text amendments to the Boulder County Land Use Code related to the Short-Term Dwelling and Vacation Rental uses in Article 4-507.E, Article 4-516.X, Article 4-516.Y, and any other related Articles and provisions necessary to integrate these changes. Public testimony was taken. View the Staff Report for Sept. 20. 2023.

Draft Short-Term and Vacation Rental Land Use Code Text Amendments and Associated Licensing Ordinance as of Sept. 1, 2023

After receiving input from the public, Board of County Commissioners, and Planning Commissioners, as well as reviewing neighboring jurisdictions’ regulations and conducting additional research, staff has drafted proposed Text Amendments to Article 4 of the Boulder County Land Use Code along with an updated Licensing Ordinance to regulate Short-Term and Vacation Rental uses. Staff is requesting public input on these drafts.

View the proposed Short-Term and Vacation Rental Land Use Code Text Amendments and Associated Licensing Ordinance as of Sept. 1, 2023. You will find the existing Land Use Code language in the draft. Strikethroughs (example) indicate text that has been removed while an underline identifies text that has been added. In addition to the proposed Text Amendments and Licensing Ordinance, staff has included a summary of the proposed changes.

The docket review process for the proposed Text Amendments to Article 4 of the Land Use Code will include a public hearing before the Boulder County Planning Commission and the Boulder County Board of County Commissioners (following recommendation from the Planning Commission). The Planning Commission Hearing will occur on September 20, 2023.

The review process for the proposed Licensing Ordinance will include a first reading at a public meeting before the Boulder County Board of County Commissioners. Public comment will not be taken at this meeting. A second reading of the Licensing Ordinance will be scheduled to coincide with the hearing on the proposed text amendments, which is anticipated to occur on October 24, 2023. Public comment will be taken at the second reading.

Confirmation of the anticipated public meeting and public hearing dates and times will be published online and in local newspapers.


Community Meetings on Proposed Boulder County Land Use Code Amendments Related to Short-Term Dwelling and Vacation Rentals

The Boulder County Community Planning & Permitting Department is updating the county’s Short-Term Dwelling Rental and Vacation Rental regulations as part of Docket DC-23-0001. Two in-person sessions and one virtual session were held to gather community input on concepts to change the Land Use Code and licensing ordinance.

Commissioners authorized staff to make amendments to the existing regulations based on the findings of the Short-Term Rental and Vacation Rental Two-Year Review. Staff are considering amendments that aim to make outcomes related to Short-Term Dwelling and Vacation Rental applications more predictable, streamline the existing review process, and reduce redundancies associated with the current land use review and licensing processes.

Staff presented concepts to the public and receive feedback at the community meetings, which will inform the drafting of the updated regulations. The public may also review the concepts and provide their input through an online feedback form.

The proposed changes for Short-Term Dwelling and Vacation Rentals are for the unincorporated areas of Boulder County, not in cities like Boulder or Longmont. Boulder County’s unincorporated areas comprise the rural, mountainous and plains communities that are not part of any incorporated municipality.

In-person Feedback Session in Allenspark – May 31, 2023

Staff held an in-person session in Allenspark to receive feedback on short-term and vacation rental concepts from the public.

In-person Feedback Session in Boulder – June 6, 2023

Staff held an in-person session in Boulder to receive feedback on short-term and vacation rental concepts from the public.

Virtual Feedback Session – May 24, 2023

Staff held a virtual session to receive feedback on short-term and vacation rental concepts from the public:


Background

On March 14, 2023, the Board of County Commissioners authorized staff to pursue text amendments to Article 4-507 and 4-516 of the Boulder County Land Use Code related to Short-Term Dwelling and Vacation Rentals.

As a result of the Short-Term and Vacation Rental Two-Year Review, which was presented to the Board of County Commissioners on January 17, 2023, Commissioners directed staff to consider amendments to the existing regulations and updates to the licensing ordinance. Potential amendments include improving the predictability of outcomes related to Short-Term Dwelling and Vacation Rental applications, streamlining the existing review process, and reducing redundancies and discretion associated with the current process. Staff will also propose updates to the Short-Term Dwelling and Vacation Rental licensing ordinance during this process.

The existing Boulder County Land Use Code provisions for Short-Term Dwelling Rentals were created in 2008 as part of DC-07-0002 and were subsequently updated in 2020 as part of DC-19-0005. The proposed changes to the Boulder County Land Use Code are for unincorporated areas of Boulder County, not in cities like Boulder or Longmont. Boulder County’s unincorporated areas comprise the rural, mountainous and plains communities that are not part of any incorporated municipality. View information regarding current Short-Term Dwelling and Vacation Rental regulations and licensing requirements.

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