Cripple Creek News Public Workshop Set to Address Short-Term Rental Invasion in Cripple Creek

Rick Langenberg


The city of Cripple Creek will soon take its turn in addressing the hot issue of short-term rental properties, often referred to as vacation homes.


It impacts the renting of out of properties to those who stay for 30 days or less, and is a controversial topic that has triggered divided opinions in virtually every town in Colorado, and especially tourist and entertainment communities. In Cripple Creek, the big worry deals with vacation homes, which are generally obtained through such internet sites as Airbnb and VRBO.

A workshop is tentatively planned for the council’s Wednesday, June 1 meeting, according to officials.


A nine-month moratorium on STR licenses, is scheduled to end shortly. Initially, town leaders enacted a moratorium due to the current shortage of affordable or workforce housing units. Officials opted to take a time-out so it could evaluate its overall plans for developing more housing units.


“We do have a workforce housing crisis,” said former Cripple Creek Planner Ryan Helle, at a meeting last winter, in discussing the final reading of an ordinance, authorizing this moratorium on an emergency basis. “This addresses that local housing shortage.”

Helle said the moratorium would give the city more time to study the issue more and compile necessary regulations. Plus, the city has embarked on an aggressive effort to open the door for more permanent housing developments through offering more incentives.

The big concern in Cripple Creek deals with the impact short-term rentals may have on their limited housing resources, which could affect local workers.


In other area towns, such as Woodland Park and Green Mountain Falls, residents say short-term rentals impact their quality of life and often make their neighborhoods trashier. Most don’t argue with short-term rentals controlled by owner-occupied residents. But efforts are being mulled to further regulate STRs. GMF may proceed with putting a cap on the amount of STRs it permits. Woodland Park, meanwhile, is considering a slew of defined rules for STRs.


But leaders there have stopped well short of enacting any type of moratoriums.


The big issue deals with properties operated by out-of-town companies.


But on the other side of the coin, a few property owners and investors in Cripple Creek stated that they were penalized by the city’s moratorium, and could not proceed with plans to purchase a second-home in the gaming community. This happed to a couple from Greeley recently, who stated they pursued with a purchase of a home, which they wanted to rent out to vacationers to help subsidize the costs, and pursued this objective based on information they initially received by the town staff, prior to the moratorium. They were denied a STR license mainly due to the city’s moratorium.


Real estate company representatives also argue that this moratorium is anti-business and these properties can be a boon for the area.


Councilman Mark Green cited agreed with these sentiments, and was the one dissenting tally in the original vote to okay Cripple Creek’s STR moratorium. But the overall opinion of the council, in enacting the moratorium, dealt with addressing the city’s affordable housing crisis.


Development Fever in the Creek continues

In action, town leaders heard more plans last week for another major development bid near the Wildwood casino area, off Hwy. 67.


Although no specific details were unveiled, the concept plans call for more multi-family housing, gaming, a sports bar and additional amenities, according to Helle, a representative of Baseline Engineering Corp.


On the table recently was a request for a public right-of-way vacation, which must get addressed prior to any formal plan submittal. It is part of a redevelopment bid for the old Cripple Creek Motel, as part of American Gaming Subdivision Filing 3.


Elected leaders didn’t get a chance to really obtain details about the project specifics due to their current regulations. These questions will get addressed at a later date, once a development plan is submitted.


At their recent meeting, they passed the first reading of an ordinance okaying the vacation of a 14,500-square-foot street and alley area on Pikes Peak Avenue.