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Dan Paull enjoys downtown Golden. He likes to walk along Clear Creek, visit the local breweries and spend time at the Golden Library.
That is, when he is not out hiking Mount Galbraith or the table mountains.
Paull, 67, lives in Seattle. For about the past four years, he and his wife travel to Golden, on average, twice a year for two primary reasons — family visits and vacation.
Their trips usually last about a week, but on occasion will come to Golden for a long weekend. Once or twice they've stayed for about a month.
Paull's son and daughter-in-law recently bought a house in Golden, and prior to the grandchildren coming along, the Seattle couple would stay with them. But now, Paull and his wife stay in a local short-term rental.
“Going through a hotel is a sterile experience,” Paull said. “It's much less enjoyable. You don't get to meet people and you don't get to learn about the community.”
Short-term rentals have been a topic of city discussion for a while. Review of short-term rentals began in July 2017, and to have time to figure out how to regulate them, city council placed a moratorium on accepting and processing new residential short-term rentals in Golden on Feb. 8.
“Council's decision came due to growth of short-term rentals in Golden, and residents' concerns around noise, parking and mostly around neighborhood character,” said Golden City Planner Amber Wesner in her staff presentation to Golden's Planning Commission on April 4.
That evening, Planning Commission unanimously passed a motion to recommend that city council adopt and approve some changes to the Golden Municipal Code concerning short-term rentals which would better regulate them.
“As you know,” Wesner said, “we have a really high noncompliance rate right now.”
The new regulations accomplish a few notable actions: They will allow short-term rentals in residential areas of Golden where they weren't previously allowed, it will be easier for Planning Commission and staff to manage short-term rental cases, the process will be more streamlined for people to apply to operate a short-term rental and be more compliant with the regulations.
“Short term rentals provide an additional option for lodging visitors to Golden,” said Planning Commissioner Patty Evans. “Visitors feel more connected to the community staying in a Golden neighborhood. Additionally, the flexibility allows homeowners to bring in extra income, allowing them to make their home more affordable.”
It is expected for the issue to be brought to city council within a few weeks.
Golden defines a short-term rental as “any dwelling, dwelling unit or portion of any dwelling unit rented or leased for valuable consideration to a particular person or persons for periods of time less than thirty days.”
Commercial boarding and rooming houses, and hotels and motels are not short-term rentals.
Short-term rentals will be allowed in all residential zoning. The exception is any HOA restriction for operating a short-term rental would overrule the city's allowance.
Tourist homes share a similar definition of a short-term rental but are excluded from residential zoning because tourist home will be the term used to define a short-term rental in commercial areas.
Short-term rentals will have a requirement that the dwelling is owner-occupied or is the primary residence of the owner. Tourist homes will not have this requirement.
Both short-term rentals and tourist homes must be licensed. Licenses must be renewed bi-annually. A license for a tourist home would additionally include a Sales and Use Tax License, proof of liability insurance, a permit number displayed on all advertising and confirmation of working carbon monoxide, smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher.
Parking requirements for short-term rentals have to meet the number of off-street parking spaces in the residential area specific to where the short-term rental is located.
Paull and his wife generally travel to Golden by road — an approximate 20-hour road trip. Because you can't know exactly how far you'll make it in one day, getting a hotel room is good option sometimes, Paull said. He added that he and his wife generally stay in a hotel along the way to avoid making a reservation at a specific hotel.
Otherwise, they always go through Airbnb for their lodging, whether it be in Golden or a different destination.
“We like it. It's inexpensive and it's interesting,” Paull said. A short-term rental “will always be our first choice for a stay away from home.”
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