San Juan County Council approved by a 2-1 vote two new ordinances regarding vacation rentals in San Juan County. People operating unpermitted vacation rentals in the county are now subject to a $2,300 plus $100 day fine. Active enforcement including perusing websites advertising vacation rentals is now allowed. The new requirements include posting the permit number in any advertisements.
Filing life/safety certificates annually in order to keep the permit. Clear rules of conduct to reduce impact on neighboring properties. Providing information about the need for water conservation and fire safety.
Council member Rick Hughes argued that is wasn't fair to apply the new regulations to existing vacation rental permits. The council attempted to compromise by exempting three items - changes in the number of parking spaces required, change in the number of guests allowed, and expiration of permits - for people who have existing permits. Otherwise the regulations affect every permit holder as of December 31, 2018. Note: the regulations go into effect immediately for permits issued after the ordinance goes into effect - no wait until December 31, 2018.
After the vote, San Juan County Council member Jamie Stephens said, "This does bring everybody on a much more level playing field while protecting those vested rights of people who had those vacation rentals."
The compromise wasn't enough to get Hughes to vote for the measure.
"I am disappointed that again on a project I started four years ago, that it has come out to be a different product than I thought it was going to be." Hughes said, "Line in the sand on existing permit holders is something I have to support. I cannot support this."
Commissioner Bill Watson thanked the staff saying, "Thanks to you all for the efforts. You've been working on this for 18 months now."
The draft version of the ordinance can be viewed here. A final version will be posted when available. Items B, F and J are the ones that will not apply to vacation rental permits that already exist.