Aspen City Council temporarily bans residential development

ASPEN, Colo. — Last week the Aspen City Council unanimously approved an emergency ordinance that imposes a temporary moratorium on new development.

The order is targeting new land use applications “for residential uses and development… in all zone districts within the City that meet the definition of demolition or would have the effect of increasing the height, gross square footage, Net leasable area, or Net liveable area of any building” (Ordinance No. 27).

The law pauses the distribution of short-term rental permits for nine months, while the residential development ban is six months, however, both could be extended by the council.

“The ban is in response to the real estate market explosion in Aspen over the past two years, and the proliferation of short-term rentals in single-family homes and condos,” writes Carolyn Sackariason in the Aspen Times.

Projects consisting of 100% affordable housing are exempt from the new rule. Applications submitted prior to the vote are also exempt.

“This is not going to last,” Aspen Mayor Torre told Rocky Mountain PBS. “We’re going to get out of this as soon as we can.”

The ordinance states that “the City of Aspen depends on a lived-in community of year-round locals to support community culture, provide labor and capital to support the local economy, and ensure the long-term viability of the community and tourist economy.”

“Due to unprecedented increases in home prices and a lack of supply over time, the residential real estate market in Aspen no longer delivers meaningful housing for local residents, therefore, the affordable housing system is relied upon to provide the vast majority of housing for locals and workers.”

“The availability of housing for local workers and residents is diminishing, the system for delivering affordable housing is not keeping pace with need, and the housing market in the region and state of Colorado are in crisis.”

“The current regulatory structure to deliver affordable housing to the community is inadequate to meet the needs of current residents and provide affordable housing to meet the future needs of the community and economy.”

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