Avon looking to allow vacation rentals in area previously barred
August 12, 2017
AVON — Properties on Nottingham Road could soon be clear for short-term renting if a directive from the Avon Town Council is seen through.
Town zoning currently does not allow short-term rentals on Nottingham Road residences, after it was not included in a short-term rental overlay district created in 2009.
The short-term rental overlay district was created to outright permit short-term rentals in a large majority of the valley floor area, however Nottingham Road wasn't included in that district.
"Most of the early versions of the overlay district included areas of Nottingham Road, Eaglebend Drive and even the Wildridge subdivision," Planning Director Matt Pielsticker wrote in a memo. "A determination was made that the STRO could not legally be overlaid on PUD zone districts (i.e. Wildridge, Eaglebend), and through further modifications to the approving the ordinance, Nottingham Road was dropped out of the overlay area during council approvals in 2009."
Finding out properties on Nottingham Road are not able to be rented short-term legally has been an unexpected discovery for some.
"When we were looking at the short term market here, I was actually surprised that road was not already zoned for short-term rentals given that it's on the valley floor and there's so many other areas that are short-term renting," Town Council member Sarah Smith Hymes said at the council's Aug. 8 meeting.
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PUBLIC PROCESS UNDERWAY
The council examined the Nottingham Road zoning question Aug. 8 after local property owner Kevin Hyatt said he would like to make rooms in his property in the Alpenhaus condominiums available for short-term renting.
Hyatt asked that the Alpenhaus condominiums be included in the overlay district, and the town staff recommended the council oblige his wish. The town planning and zoning commission, however, recommended against it. The commission examines zoning issues such as Hyatt's and sends recommendations to the council.
"The reason why we voted the way we did was because it was going to give different zoning within the district to one property that the other properties would not have," said Marty Golembiewski, planning commission member. "They would have a different right than everyone else in the district."
Golembiewski is himself a Nottingham Road resident, and said personally he approves of short-term rentals being allowed in the entire Nottingham Road district.
"There was a lot of discussion on that, but we were voting for just this one property alone to have a short-term rental," he said.
The council upheld the planning commission's recommendation, and also directed staff to pursue Golembiewski's personal recommendation, voting unanimously in favor of town staff reviewing and initiating a public process in consideration of the short-term rental overlay district being applied to the whole Nottingham Road area.
"I know that doesn't help you for the next two weeks, or two months or three months," council member Amy Phillips told Hyatt. "But I feel like the minute we open this door then all the cows are out of the barn … and we will have implied that we've made a decision for that whole street to have that overlay on it."
BENT ON MILLENNIALS
In some countries, it would be considered rude for you to leave a friend some cash after staying with him or her and enjoying the area for a few days.
The United States is not one of those countries.
As such, the line between owner occupied short-term rentals and a friend visiting another friend have become blurred over the years, especially if those friends initially met from one person renting from the other. The rise of websites such as vrbo.com and airbnb.com has brought more definition to that line, but the topic of owner-occupied short-term rental rooms versus renting out an entire property through the internet hasn't been discussed as throughly in towns such as Avon.
It may be a question better left to individual homeowner associations, but members of the Avon Town Council did discuss the difference between the two situations at its Aug. 8 meeting. Hymes said she is concerned about short-term rental properties that are not owner occupied, because it removes the potential for long-term worker housing in those properties.
"I would like to figure out a way to use short-term rental coding approvals to allow owner occupied units," council member Sarah Smith Hymes said. "I'm not sure there's a way we can actually do that."
In approaching the council, Hyatt said he was interested in the owner-occupied version of short term rentals for his place, saying he has had bad experiences with long-term roommates in the past.
"Proving long-term rental solutions as a 52-year old person when most of the people who are coming out here are not, it's hard to have them in your house," he said. "I had long-term roommates forever, and you just kind of get bent on having millennials, no offense, show up and tell you how rude you are and don't wash the dishes for a month."