The council decision departed from the recommendation made to it by the town’s Design Review Board, which recommended approval of the three ski season permit sought by the applicant, Tamas Paluska.
“Everyone has complemented his business,” said Councilmember Dave Schillaci, noting that the service has positively impacted Telluride, Mountain Village and the Telluride Ski Resort.
Nevertheless, facing complaints from other merchants that the yurt has been able to operate at an unfair advantage by virtue of the comparatively low cost of the location, “We need to look at how we can push them towards brick and mortar,” he said.
Mayor Bob Delves and Councilmember Dan Garner cast the dissenting votes.
“I will not support it because I think one year is unfair,” said Delves.
Property Managers Accountable in Amended Business License Ordinance
The Mountain Village Town Council last week unanimously voted to approve on second reading an amendment to an ordinance that first went into effect in May 2010 requiring all homeowners who rent out their properties to have a business license and to collect and remit associated sales and lodging taxes to the town.
The original ordinance replaced a 1996 version that provided an exception to homeowners who rented their homes for less than 15 days per year and created penalties for property owners who advertise their homes for rent without first obtaining a business license.
The amendment broadens the ordinance to define property management agents as any business or individual that rents, cleans, monitors or otherwise manages more than one accommodations unit in town, but is not the owner of that until, and requires any such agent to ensure that a business license has been procured for the unit prior to it being rented out.
Property managers are not actually required to obtain the required business license themselves, according to the amendment, only to verify that it is in place. Additionally, agents are required to keep a copy of the license on file and to present it to the town if so requested.
Council approved the original ordinance in part as a reaction to the increasing popularity of websites that facilitate private rentals, which have made it challenging for the town to collect fees and taxes associated with the short-term rental accommodation business, thereby lessening the town’s ability to fund marketing efforts that benefit all Mountain Village taxpayers and business owners.
Nuisance Ordinance Approved in 7-0 Vote
In another 7-0 vote council also approved the second reading of an ordinance that identifies certain activities as nuisances that are necessary to control in order to protect and preserve the health, safety and welfare of residents of, and visitors to, Mountain Village, and establishes a mechanism of enforcement to abate them.
Junkyards and dumping grounds considered to interfere with the “comfortable enjoyment of life or property by others,” the discharge of noxious liquids, the accumulation of stale matters other than in approved receptacles or in areas zoned for and granted approval for such storage (excluding landscaping compost in appropriately zoned areas), sewage, dead domestic animals whose bodies are not disposed of 24 hours after death, and snow and ice buildup, among other scenarios, may now be considered nuisances under certain circumstances.
Complaints may be made to the Town Manager, Community Development, Building or Police departments.
Those found guilty of a first offense by a municipal judge may be punished with a fine of between $500 and $1,000 or imprisonment of up to one year, or both, with each day of any violation considered a separate offense.
A second violation of the ordinance by a previously convicted violator carries with it a fine of $1,000 or imprisonment for up to one year or both, at the discretion of the court, with each day of the violation considered a separate offense.
Mayor Pro-Tem Jonathan Greenspan was at first hesitant to approve the ordinance because he feared many nuisance complaints might be frivolous in nature. However, the assurance that many layers of scrutiny would be applied to complaints, and opportunities provided for violators to remedy them, before any matter was referred for a court decision sufficiently allayed those concerns.
Sharp Increase on Plaza Assistance Fees
With the town’s free plaza delivery assistance program concluding on November 1, Mountain Village merchants and others looking for help in transporting goods across town plazas where dollies, push carts and other non-motorized delivery methods are to be used in an effort to preserve the pedestrian nature of the Village Core, will see new fees to procure that help from the town.
The intent of the free program established two years ago was to assist merchants and purveyors with their deliveries until the new town loading dock facility inside the Capella hotel (required as part of the development) was finished.
That time has now come, and merchants are once again being asked to accomplish deliveries on their own, using the dock as a staging area if desired.
With council’s unanimous approval, the cost to hire a single town staff person with a single piece of equipment is now $200 per hour with a minimum half-hour fee for all assistance projects. The cost for additional staff labor is $100 per person, per hour, as is the cost for additional town equipment.
The fees are designed to get the town “out of the delivery business,” as Town Manager Greg Sparks put it.
“The whole preference from council is that we want to be the third or fourth option,” for delivery assistance, not the first or second, he said.