Vacation rental saga continues

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The latest word on the continuing saga of vacation rentals in residential areas of Custer is that the can will continue to be kicked down the road by the city council. Jason has covered this topic since it first came to light at a city council meeting last September, and here we are almost a year later with no resolution.

The issue at that time was a particular home in Boot Hill that was sold to a party who turned it into a vacation rental that was reportedly disrupting the residental quietness of Boot Hill. The subdivision has at least three different covenants which tends to complicate things a little bit.  However, vacation rentals allegedly are not on the list of allowable activities. The resolution to the Boot Hill covenant matter seems to be headed to court if it is to be resolved by the property owners there.

Resolution of the vacation rental issue in the rest of residental Custer seems to be less complicated. A city ordinance clearly forbids the establishment of a business in a residental area and vacation rentals clearly are a business. The only way they could be allowed in a residential area is by the property owner going through a conditional use permit hearing process. Thus far, no vacation rental property owners in the city have done this.

To bring this issue to an end, the city council could grandfather in all existing vacation rental properties in the residental part of Custer, excluding Boot Hill which seems to be a separate issue with existing property use covenants. Then any property owner in the city desiring to convert his home to a vacation rental could apply for a conditional use permit whereby adjacent property owners have an opportunity to express their approval or disapproval. That way the city would not be totally banning vacation rentals in Custer.

Code enforcement seems to be a continuing problem in the city, which has brought us to the point where we are today with vacation rentals springing up in residental parts of the city. It’s not that we don’t have the laws to prohibit this type of activity. It seems to be a problem of interpreting a vacation rental as a business, which it clearly is, and then enforcing the ordinance that prohibits businesses in residental parts of the city.

What’s done is done and we suggest the city council take some kind of action to bring this issue to a reasonable conclusion. If anybody has any better ideas, we are sure the city council and mayor would be interested in hearing them.

We don’t need this issue to be dragged out so long.

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