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On July 20 the Salida City Council hosted their regular meeting, wherein one key outcome they approved Ordinance 2021-11 on final reading with two amendments. The ordinance imposes a temporary moratorium on the submission, acceptance, processing, and approval of any new application for a short-term rental license and declaring an emergency.

Image Courtesy YourHub/Denver Post

After hearing from multiple citizens who were concerned about the original duration of the moratorium and those who had already entered into an agreement with the city (including provisions for planned short term rental units), the city made the amendments to help solve the housing crisis, while also keeping their word.

Council members shortened the time period of the moratorium from nine months to three months. They also made an amendment that states “this moratorium shall not apply to those properties already governed by existing planned development agreements, subdivision improvement agreements or annexation agreements with the city.” Simply put, the city has multiple previous agreements with property owners and developers that will be grandfathered in.

Council members felt it was unfair to go back after making these agreements and felt it should only apply going forward. Ultimately this plan is in response to the rapidly escalating housing crisis that the city and county are currently facing.  Councilperson Justin Critelli recused himself from the vote, as he has business interests in short-term lodging.

Being an “emergency” ordinance (effective immediately upon adoption), a vote of 75 percent of all sitting council members was required and the vote was unanimous for the 5 remaining members.

City of Salida Climate Action Plan

The Council also voted to adopt Resolution 2021-27, a Climate Action Plan for the city. This plan, described by Mayor P.T. Wood as a “road map” was put together by the Sustainability Committee over the past 18 months to help the city be more sustainable for future generations.

Wood also compared the Climate Plan to an informative Comprehensive (Comp) Plan, as opposed to something like an enforceable land-use code.

During the citizen comment portion of the meeting, there were concerns raised surrounding the plan, but the council reminded the public that the plan was created by the public and for the public and is not only a road map, but a living document. Concerns raised centered on the pros and cons of transitioning to alternative energy sources and away from natural gas.  While such an idea is mentioned in the plan, it and any other suggestions would need to be prioritized and brought before Council individually before any action would be taken.

The city says the goal of the plan is not to set requirements, but rather to help present and organize the many dozens of recommendations and strategies that volunteers have compiled for the City of Salida to create achievable goals. During the discussion of the resolution, the Sustainability Committee members who were present were allowed brief statements to the council.

Photo by Sigmund. Courtesy of unsplash.

“This plan does not even sequence at this point. So, it’s really a list of all the measures that would be helpful,” said Councilperson Harald Kasper. “We already had some prioritization of what to do first, by what date, and of course we want to do something that is going to make a big difference. In a mountain community like this where we have tourists coming in, there is a big importance as well that what we do is visible to the public. I invite all the public to participate in that next step of sequencing and picking out action items we’re really going to pursue.”

Councilperson Jane Templeton who is also the co-chair of the committee explained “I want to thank all the people, all the community members who were part of our conversation. We did have a lot of community members who are on our committee and helped us write this plan.”

“We always continue to welcome input from the community.  At one meeting we said ‘we’re not doing this for ourselves, we’re doing this for our children, our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren.”

To read the full plan click here.