Anyone excited for the conclusion of the Accessory Dwelling Unit saga will have to wait a bit longer.
Santa Fe City Council will not hear the proposed ordinance change until its June 26 meeting. (An agenda published for the upcoming Wednesday meeting confirms a hearing and possible final votes that had been scheduled for May 29 won't happen till the end of next month.)
The delay, according to city spokeswoman Lilia Chacon, is intended to give researchers studying the issue time to complete their work, as well as to allow residents to consider the information presented in a series of public information sessions.
"It makes sense to have all of these components of our housing strategy together to put the ADU ordinance in the right context," Chacon tells SFR in an email Friday afternoon. "Hence our postponement."
At the center of the dispute, and the postponement, are concerns that if approved, the rule change would cause a flood of short-term rentals, facilitated by AirBnB and other hospitality apps. According to Chacon, the Land Use Department is investigating how other municipalities have dealt with short-term rentals.
Kelly O'Donnell, of O'Donnell Economics and Strategy, is also working on a report for Homewise, a non-profit housing advocacy organization, about the economic impacts of short-term rentals in Santa Fe. Already, O'Donnell tells SFR, short-term rentals have had a negative effect on Santa Fe's housing market.
"The proliferation of short-term rentals has impacted the supply of housing," she says.
"Once you actually get into the numbers, growth in short term rentals and housing stock there is an impact, we've found," O'Donnell says. "Is it the driver? No, but it has an impact."
However, she says that approval of the ordinance change would not necessarily bring about a wave of short-term rentals.
"We're not talking about a lot of housing," she says of accessory dwelling units. "But I can understand why they'd want to see the results of our analysis before moving forward on the ADU ordinance." She says that the approval of the rule change would be a good outcome, but it wouldn't fix the housing crisis.
"What Santa Fe really needs are funds for affordable housing," O'Donnell says.
Councilor Roman Abeyta, one of the ordinance change's co-sponsors, welcomed the idea, saying he was looking forward to seeing the results of O'Donnell's study.
"The ordinance has generated a lot of public interest, both for and against," says Abeyta, one of the cosponsors of the proposed ordinance change tells SFR. "One of the concerns was the impact that it may have on short term rentals, and creating more short term rentals. It's my understanding the study will be complete in the next couple of weeks."
O'Donnell says that the study will be released by the June 26 meeting.
Jamie Durfee, the casita renter whose story brought the issue greater public attention, tells SFR that she heard the city attorney's office will not bring eviction proceedings against her until the City Council comes to a decision about the rules.