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City to hold first hearing to revoke short term rental permit

Posted at 10:23 PM, Oct 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-17 07:26:06-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — On Thursday morning, the Colorado Springs Planning Commission will hold its first revocation hearing for a short term rental permit.

Neighbors have complained that the home on Castlewood Lane is being used as a party house. However, the property owner said most of the complaints come from a single neighbor whom she thinks is holding a grudge.

County property records show that Tanya Mitchell bought the house last Halloween. She said it's one of two short term rentals she owns in the city.

Mitchell has personally stayed in vacation rentals many times and wanted to invest in properties that could house a large family like her own.

"I created rentals that I would want to stay in," she said.

Her permit is in jeopardy for reportedly violating the occupancy limit in the city's short term rental ordinance which went into effect in January. The city-wide maximum is 16 guests in one house, and no more than 5 of those guests can be unrelated.

Al English lives across the street and said that Mitchell has had plenty more people in the home this year.

"There have been occasions when I now they're not related because we had a tour bus pull up and there were 22 girls, 22 high school girls were staying there," English said.

Nicole Neff's backyard shares a fence with Tanya's rental home. She said there have been parties with large numbers of guests using the hot tub and drinking on the back porch late into the night.

"There's music over the hot tub, they're loud, they're just partying it up, drinking and we hear everything in my bed at night," Neff said.

Mitchell said she responded to every complaint and never leases to more than 16 people.

A guest named Shelby left a review on her AirBnB listing in March and stated that as many as 45 people where in the home.

"The hot tub is amazing, the kitchen was spacious (cooked spaghetti for 45 people- how many other places can you do that?) Honestly I would really recommend," the review reads.

Mitchell said she wasn't aware that her guests planned to invite additional people to the home but said not all 45 stayed the night.

"I've had groups where they may invite people over for like lunch or a dinner," she said.

As for the tour bus incident, Mitchell said she wasn't okay with it that it isn't illegal for a bus to temporarily park in front of her home.

"It was here to drop off some people on the bus and pick them up," she said. "I handled that as quickly as I could, but they were not staying here."

Mitch Hammes, Neighborhood Services Manager for the City of Colorado Springs, said it can be difficult for code enforcement officers to prove there are too many people in a home.

"It's real easy if we have cars or loud music or trash, but the number of people in house, that in and of itself is hard to prove," he said.

The case against Tanya lists more than 40 complaints, some with photos. A timeline of compiled by Hammes' office indicates that most of the complaints were lodged by Al English.

Mitchell believes English is trying to bully her out of the neighborhood and said there have been no complaints at her other property. She expects to be vindicated at the hearing but still plans to sell the house later this year.

Colorado Springs City Council is currently considering stricter occupancy limits in the short term rental ordinance. The council may also add a density restriction that limits the number of permits available in a given neighborhood.