EDITORIAL: Healing attempts in our neighborhoods, part one
No, the photo above is not Pagosa Springs, although there were times this summer when the traffic looked a bit like this.
I don’t remember our city feeling that way ten years ago.
Of course, it’s not just the traffic that’s different in Archuleta County this summer. The tax revenues collected by our local governments over the past year have practically exceeded the cap. But even our elected officials are starting to wonder if too much of a good thing is not a good thing.
Too much money, on the one hand, walking into a small community can cause real estate prices to go up, beyond a reasonable limit.
Last month, the non-profit group known as Pagosa Housing Partners (PHP) finished collecting responses to a new “residential housing survey” from residents of Archuleta County, to help paint a picture of our housing situation in the summer of 2021. We’ve all heard anecdotal stories about the situation, but some of our community leaders are more comfortable with the survey data.
Joanne Whitney, a volunteer PHP board member, analyzed the data collected and presented some of the numbers to Pagosa Springs City Council on Thursday, August 19.
PHP conducted a similar survey in the summer of 2018 and performed a similar analysis – removing retirees from the analysis so PHP could focus on our local workforce. The 2021 scans also removed retirees.
In 2018, 414 families or active individuals responded to the survey. For 2021, the number was 553.
Government and nonprofit entities that study or provide housing – entities like HUD, the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, and many regional and local entities – say a family should not pay more than 30% of their income. monthly for housing expenses, including rent or mortgage and utilities. A family that pays more than 30% is considered “overburdened with costs”. A family that pays more than 50% of its monthly income for housing is considered “heavily burdened”.
When I used a mortgage calculator on the Fidelity Bank website, it appears that this bank uses the same basic calculations – capping a qualified mortgage payment at around 30% of monthly income, even for a family with a ” good credit ”- and cap it at less than 30%, for the“ Average credit ”.
When Pagosa Housing Partners surveyed working families in 2018, around 54% of respondents in Archuleta County were “overburdened with costs.”
When the numbers were calculated for 2021, PHP found that 79% – almost 4 out of 5 families surveyed in Archuleta County – were overburdened with costs.
City council was shown other numbers that were perhaps even more worrisome to consider. We can get to those numbers tomorrow.
But two other fairly important discussions took place at the August 19 meeting that could have an impact on how Pagosa Springs thrives – or doesn’t – in the years to come.
The first discussion focused on the first reading of Ordinance 958. “AN ORDER FROM THE CITY OF PAGOSA SPRINGS AMENDING THE MUNICIPAL CODE OF PAGOSA SPRINGS WITH RESPECT TO SHORT-TERM VACATION RENTALS”
From the prescription:
WHEREAS over the past five to ten years, the advent and growing popularity of individuals and businesses that buy, advertise and lease residential properties on a short-term rental basis have resulted in approximately 16% of the Pagosa Springs housing stock being used for short term vacation rentals; and
WHEREAS City Council hereby finds that the use of a residential property as a short-term vacation rental impacts the City and its residents in various ways, including, but not limited to, use increased public services and increased noise, parking, complaints about garbage and the transient nature of occupants, which can have a negative effect on the residential character of a neighborhood; and
WHEREAS the municipal council notes and determines that it is necessary to add a new article 6.7.12, to article 7, chapter 6 of the Municipal Code regarding the eligibility and density of short-term vacation rentals term in residential areas of Pagosa Springs; and
WHEREAS the City Council observes and determines that the regulation of the allocation and density of short-term vacation rentals in the city is appropriate and necessary for the operation and operation of the city…
The changes to the municipal code proposed by Ordinance 958 – which were adopted unanimously on first reading, include the following:
1. Eligibility and density restrictions do not apply to properties located in commercial areas of the city, nor to properties located in residential areas that were already permitted before the enactment of Ordinance 958. However, the conditions permits for use in residential areas are not transferable, so a person purchasing such a property should apply for a new license, if authorized.
2. Going forward, the City will not issue a vacation rental permit unless the owner “can prove that they have owned the relevant housing unit of the property for at least two (2) ) years before the date of the request. In the case of a vacant property, the Permit Officer will not accept applications under section 6.7.5 of this chapter as long as the applicant for a short-term vacation rental permit requiring a vacation rental permit. The conditional use has not held a certificate of occupancy for at least two (2) years prior to the date of the application. The applicant must submit an attestation, signed by the owner and the local agent (if different) that he has read and understood all the other requirements of this chapter.
3. Only one vacation rental permit is permitted per residential property. A house with secondary accessory will be able to rent one or the other of the units on a short-term basis, but not both.
4. No more than 10% of single family residential units in each zoned residential district will be eligible for vacation rental licenses. “Once the licensing officer determines that the limit has been reached in a district, no further licenses will be issued in that district. This limitation does not apply to short term vacation properties that are occupied year round by the owner thereof.
At the meeting, Planning Director James Dickhoff said vacation rental licenses in each residential area already exceeded 10%, suggesting that no new licenses can currently be issued.
5. No more than one unit or ten percent 10% of the residential units (whichever is greater) contained in a multi-family or townhouse complex will be eligible for vacation rental.
6. A vacation rental property may not be located within two hundred and fifty feet (250 feet) of or adjacent to another vacation rental property. This limitation does not apply to short-term multi-family or row vacation properties located in the same multi-family or row development – nor does it apply to short-term vacation properties that are occupied year round. by the owner.
Several community members testified for or against the ordinance. Based on this testimony, Council unanimously approved the first reading of Order 958.
Read the second part, tomorrow …
Bill Hudson began to share his opinions in the Pagosa’s daily message in 2004 and can’t seem to break the habit. He claims that in Pagosa Springs opinions are like vans: everyone has one.