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City alters short-term rental ordinance to boost enforcement, allow for downtown listings

By Rob Nielsen - | May 14, 2024

BRIAN WOLFER, Special to the Standard-Examiner

The Ogden Municipal Building is pictured Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020.

OGDEN — The city has fine-tuned its rules regarding short-term rentals along with allowing them in more places.

During the Ogden City Council’s meeting last week, the board voted 4-3 to amend its housing ordinance to clarify rules on the properties while allowing short-term rentals, such as those available through Airbnb and Vrbo, in the downtown sector.

Ogden City Planning Manager Barton Brierley told the Standard-Examiner the ordinance change was about boosting enforcement options for the city over issues with short-term rentals that disturb neighbors.

“We wanted to make sure we had the tools we needed to address issues when they come out,” he said.

Additionally, the ordinance changes allow short-term rentals into new areas.

“The other part is to allow them in our downtown — the main core area of downtown where they weren’t allowed before — to allow a few units of short-term rentals to promote tourism in the downtown area,” he said.

Brierley said a few incidents over the last few years had prompted the changes.

“We had received some complaints from neighbors about short-term rentals going on in their neighborhood and we just didn’t really have the tools to address their concerns,” he said. “There were some instances where people were using their house and renting it out for parties and big events and there would be a lot of people showing up with cars parking all over the street, parking in neighbors’ driveways and things like that.”

The City Council presentation noted that ordinance changes include a requirement that guests park on-site and a prohibition on outside guests and events. Additionally, the changes remove the current eight-month residency rule for owner-occupied rentals and only require written proof, whereas properties that aren’t owner-occupied cannot be rented until after a three-year ownership period.

Brierley said the city met with several entities in order to come up with a proposal.

“We had met a lot with both neighbors who have concerns, operators and Visit Ogden, and I think we found some rules that were pretty well-supported by all of those groups,” he said. “I think we found a really good balance between all of those interests.”

He said the changes ultimately put the responsibility of maintaining order on the property owners.

“It really puts more of the requirements on the operator to make sure they’re operating them in a way that doesn’t disturb their neighbors,” he said.

Additionally, Brierley said allowing short-term rentals in downtown Ogden will be a benefit to the area.

“A focus of Ogden is to promote tourism in the area,” he said. “We really want to promote downtown as a destination and it helps improve the tourist economy for downtown.”

More information about the changes is available at https://tinyurl.com/3snpweah.


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