My Last Word on Short Term Rental and Advocacy in Boulder

I tried to drunk post the other day. TWICE!

I swear I pressed all the right buttons on my phone (once from the bathroom) but alas, it didn’t happen. Given the nature of drunk posts, I thought they were pretty good but (surprise!) I can’t remember what I wrote.

Sorry Cao.

Onto a more sobering topic, Short Term Rental in Boulder.

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City Council had a meeting last night to continue their discussion about STR legislation.

Since this was a “continuation” of the second meeting from August they didn’t allow pubic commentary and counted on not many people being there. And they were right, not many were.

Since they rightly assumed that no one was watching, they spoke their minds and not the angry mob soothing speeches they save for when they know people are in the audience.

This was no surprise to me; I know that what they say and what they do are two different things.

Despite saying they realize that STR owners aren’t out of town investors and are really just locals deserving to be heard, this is what they agreed on.

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Courtesy of The Daily Camera

So the good news is that if you rent a room in your main house (like a guest room, which I do) you are fine and can rent it out for an unlimited number of days as long as you get certified, pay taxes, blah, blah.

If you have an attic apartment (or a garage apartment or carriage house, also like me) you can rent it out for a maximum of 120 days a year provided you have a rental license, etc.

And the other 245 days? We can go fuck ourselves because we need to remember who is really in control here.

Unless (also like me) you have both, then you have to choose one.

You can’t rent a bedroom in your main house AND your legal rental unit at the same time, even if you do not go over legal occupancy.

If you are a renter and want to list a guest room on AirBnB, or your whole place while you are on vacation?

Sorry.

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And it doesn’t matter your landlord approves because who is she to say what can and cannot happen on her property?

And you can’t AirBnB your couch or backyard to pitch a tent in, either.

Click to read article

Click to read article

Do you want to know why?

Because City Council doesn’t want anyone to make money in Boulder, even if it is simply to get by. Our beloved Councilperson Macon Cowles said the problem with Boulder is people like us who want to see a decent return on our investments, AKA homes.

Applause all around from Council because apparently it’s not okay for your house to appreciate in cost.

Well hell. How am I going to get paper for my #cashcat now?

Well hell. How am I going to get paper for my #cashcat now? You know Mr. Bates like me to line his litter box with the dollaz.

I really wish Macon was running again so I could have the pleasure of not voting for him.

Developers who want to build giant buildings that cover up views of our beloved Flatirons, on the other hand, get a variance.

Behind that giant building is the Flatirons. I'm sure Council is very concerned about how much money this developer is making.

Height limit? What height limit? Behind that giant building is the Flatirons which no one can see. I’m sure Council is very concerned about how much money this developer is making. I’m sure they aren’t making much. Maybe they could charge us a dollar to ride the elevator to the top so we can see mountains. Click on image to read more.

Welcome to Boulder.

Ironically there was a group advocating for the city to allow more people to live in one house because that’s the only way some people can afford to live in the city in which they work and go to school.

But the city wants to crack down on over occupancy because terrible things happen … like five people live in a five bedroom house.

I KNOW!

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Click image to read story

It was very kumbaya with a hundred people showing up to support the working class, passionate and articulate speakers, compelling stories … kind of like the last two meetings where STR advocates showed up to do the very same.

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Feels so good getting all grass-roots!

I hate to be them when the city decides to go ahead with it despite the impassioned speeches … after the public hearings, after they think no one is watching because it all seems to be going so well and you can’t speak anyway because there’s no more commentary …

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Oh shit, I’m getting all worked up.

So this is what I’m going to do and I swear, this is the last you will hear about Short Term Rentals from me.

MY ADVOCACY DAYS ARE OVER.

I don’t know what more I could possibly do. I poured my own money and considerable time into building the ABA website, I ran a Facebook page and leveraged my social network to the max.

I blogged, I talked to anyone who would listen, I met with City Council members privately, I called a hundred people, I went to every business on Pearl Street and gathered 60 signatures to support STRs, I contributed to a legal fund, I worked closely with AirBnB, I was on the news, I have been interviewed by the paper, I spoke at all the public commentaries and put my face on this issue.

But in the end there was only a handful of people willing to lift a finger for this issue. In fact, people were more likely to help if they didn’t have an STR because they weren’t scared of getting on the city’s shit list.

And honestly, even if 1000 people clamored, it might not have made a difference, not with this council who feels empowered to make decisions that do not reflect the will of their constituents.

So I’m done fighting.

From now on I’m keeping my head down, not dispensing advice, and definitely am not available for public comment.

I’ll turn my guest room into a 30 day rental and will rent my 3rd floor out for 120 days year and see if the other months can go long-term. Just like the law says.

Goddammit. I tried so hard.

The only thing that is keeping my spirits up is 1) I resigned myself to this outcome a long time ago so I’m not exactly surprised and 2) I can say with absolute certainty that I did everything in my power to influence the outcome. There’s no if only I had tried harder for this gal.

I’m tired of fighting and struggling. City Council? You won. Enjoy it. I hope you get your asses sued into the dark ages.

Meanwhile, I am going to focus on what is true about me.

I have an incredible life. I love my family. I get to hang out with the best people (more about that later) and I get to be me, in this house, in this place, doing what I love.

And I’m smart. I will land on my feet because I always do.

This is how I chose to look at the situation.

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Peace out motherfuckers.

10 thoughts on “My Last Word on Short Term Rental and Advocacy in Boulder

  1. The question ends up being “Do we vote yes on the tax and accept this is the new law, or do we vote no and try to force the new council members to try again?” I’m leaning towards a no vote just to fuck with the council.

    • Vote yes or everything will be illegal. Go ahead and let them pass this POS and get sued for discrimination. I need all the legalization I can get. Exact your revenge by voting them all out. I certainly will.

  2. Given all the time you’ve spent getting to know the folks on the council, I’d love to hear your thoughts about who belongs there in the future. Maybe a blog rating the candidates?

    I’m still getting a handle on Boulder politics, and don’t really know who’s who yet, but it seems like there is a lot of “opportunity for improvement”, available in this next election cycle.

  3. I am so sorry for the outcome of all your hard work. But……More importantly…..I am so impressed with you. How many people can say they gave it their all? You really did and that is so impressive. :)You must feel very proud that knowing in your heart of hearts that there was nothing more you could do. Sad but proud.

    • I can sleep at night, that’s for sure. I have to keep in mind the long game. This won’t necessarily be over, it will be how it is for a while. Everything in this world is changing. Eventually Boulder will have to catch up. It would be nice to see hard work and honest effort rewarded, though.

  4. A closed door vote should be illegal, it is in Florida.This really seems unconstitutional. Feckers! And to think they got you so pist and drunk you couldn’t drunk post! Well that just makes angry too! Try not to let the feckers get you down Viv, I hope this all works out.

  5. Suck. You worked your ass off. I am sure you will make the current situation work for you, but I am sad the Boulder council members were so backwards thinking.

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