Judge lifts moratorium, cites open meetings law violation

The Aspen Times: A judge’s ruling issued Friday invalidated an emergency ordinance the Aspen City Council adopted Dec. 8 that temporary banned residential building activity and new short-term vacation permits within city limits.

Ninth Judicial District Judge Anne Norrdin’s order approved the Aspen Board of Realtors’ motion that had sought a preliminary injunction to lift Ordinance 27 until a decision is rendered in its pending lawsuit against the city seeking a permanent injunction and a declaratory judgment making the ordinance unenforceable. While the judge found the city violated the Open Meetings Law, she ruled against the Board of Realtors’ claim that the city violated due process provisions under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The temporary injunction took effect immediately; however, it does not affect a separate city ordinance (No. 26) also banning new short-term rental licenses of 30 days or fewer, which the council adopted Dec. 7. Under Ordinance 26, the city is not issuing new STR licenses for 2022, and 2021 licenses that were extended into 2022 expire Sept. 30. City leaders have said the moratorium was passed to give them adequate time to examine the land use code in order to make the changes necessary to address the community impacts of residential development and short-term rentals.

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