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Short-term rental (STR) regulations are again taking over the main floor in local government. This time in Buena Vista where the Buena Vista Board of Trustees (Board) opted to move forward with a plan to address STRs in town limits.

The Board heard a two-pronged proposal from Town of Buena Vista staff regarding short-term rentals. In prong one, staff recommended making the nuisance code more robust to stop repeated bad behavior from STR units. But it was prong two that drove most of the Board discussion.

Buena Vista Town Hall. Photo by Henry DeKam

Prong two calls for capping the total number of STRs at four percent of total housing stock for out-of-county entities – with no limit on STRs owned by county residents. Additionally, out-of-county residents would be restricted to owning one STR in town limits.

According to city documents, there are 143 STR units in Buena Vista representing seven percent of the total housing stock. Currently, about four percent of the total housing stock are short-term rentals owned by out-of-county entities, with the remaining three percent owned by residents. The Board passed a motion 5-1 to have town staff move forward with researching the two-pronged short-term rental proposal staff as presented at the meeting.

The plan to restrict STR licenses for out-of-county residents was met with some worry about the ability to determine residency.

Town Attorney Jeff Parker expressed concern about non-local companies subverting the proposed rule, “The real issue comes in when you’re dealing with entity ownership. An entity can have an in-town address very easily and you could have every one of these things owned by an in-town entity. One of my concerns is that it’s pretty easy to get around the limit for being out of the county by just forming an LLC and giving it a town address (which could be the address of the residence).”

Town staff will now have an opportunity to revise or expand the proposal to ensure the intent of limiting the number of out-of-county entities with STR licenses isn’t easily subverted. The Board and the public will have a chance to review and comment on the new proposal.

In other business, the Board voted to conditionally approve a retail marijuana store license at 204 East Main Street to Ascend II LLC, dba Ascend Cannabis Company. They also voted to conditionally approve a tavern liquor license for 412 East Main Street to the Good Behavior, LLC, dba The Slammer. The Board voted to cancel the August 10 meeting barring urgent business.