Short-Term Vacation Rental Regulations

Town staff is developing a comprehensive ordinance that will allow STRs to operate in town under specific standards and parameters. At the March 1, 2023 Town Council meeting, Council gave direction to staff to develop an amended draft STR ordinance and bring it back for the Council’s consideration.  The Council did not set a date certain, which means the Town will re-notice the item once an agenda is decided upon.  Generally, the direction was that the Council wants to prohibit new non-hosted STRs in residential districts but find a way for the existing ones, currently operating with a business license, to continue.  The ordinance will have rigid operating standards and strict penalties to immediately or very quickly eliminate the ones not in compliance. 

Please be advised that as of August 17, 2022, the Town of Windsor is no longer accepting Short-term Vacation Rental business license applications.  This moratorium will be in place until a comprehensive Short-term Rental Ordinance is adopted by the Town Council.

The Town of Windsor currently does not have formally adopted regulations addressing short-term vacation rentals, which are rentals of residential units for periods of less than 30 days.   

Vacation Rentals

In 2015, in the absence of formal regulations, the Town’s Community Development Director established an internal short-term vacation rental policy to guide responses to inquiries from property owners regarding short-term vacation rentals.  The internal policy outlined the following requirements for a residential unit to be used as short-term vacation rental: 

  1. Approval of a business license;
  2. Safety inspection by the Fire District; and
  3. Compliance with Fire District requirements.   

Like all land uses, short-term rentals are also required to comply with Zoning Ordinance performance standards, which include standards for noise and exterior lighting.    

On February 17, 2016, the Town Council provided direction to staff on policy options for short-term vacation rentals (see meeting minutes). 

On November 1, 2017, the Town Council directed staff to prepare an ordinance formally allowing short-term vacation rentals as one of a number of measures intended to address housing and economic impacts resulting from the Nuns and Tubbs fires of October 2017 (see meeting minutes).   

Since that time, preparation of the short-term vacation rental ordinance was delayed due to staff resources being diverted to other matters, such as completing the update of the General Plan, response to the 2017 and 2019 wildfires, transition to District Elections and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In 2020, in response to recent community concerns regarding short-term rentals, the Town Council requested that staff proceed with preparing a short-term vacation rental ordinance.  

On March 17, 2021 the Town Council provided direction on policy options for short-term vacation rentals. 

Community Outreach and Next Steps 

With direction from Town Council, the Town prepared a short-term vacation rental ordinance, which included the following steps: 

  • A broad outreach strategy including a community meeting, on-line information and survey, and stakeholder interviews with individuals and groups (such as property owners with existing short-term rental business licenses, the real estate community, and neighbors of existing short-term rentals).   The outreach approach will help to ensure that the proposed short-term rental regulations will meet the community’s and the Town’s expectations. 
  • Between June 14, 2021 and July 6, 2021, an on-line survey was made available to the community to provide input on the development of a short-term vacation rental ordinance, and the results are posted below.

A Community Meeting regarding the Draft Vacation Rental Ordinance was held on Monday, November 29, 2021, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm. via Zoom. A recording of the meeting is now available. The public comment period was extended until November 29 2021.  

  • Town Council public hearing for consideration and possible ordinance introduction – Tentatively scheduled for December 21, 2022.
  • Town Council consent calendar for possible adoption – To be determined.

Please contact Planner Jennifer Sedna, at and Amanda May at to be added to an e-mail distribution list for community outreach notices.  

Background Documents 

Additional information can be found by reviewing the Town Council agenda reports and associated documents: 

DRAFT Short-Term Vacation Rental Ordinance

January 25, 2022 Planning Commission Meeting - Agenda Item 8.1

January 11, 2022 Planning Commission Meeting - Agenda Item 10.1

Survey Monkey Results, June 14, 2021 - July 6, 2021 

March 17, 2021 Town Council Meeting – Agenda Item 11.3 

November 1, 2017 Town Council Meeting – Agenda Item 11.3

February 17, 2016 Town Council Meeting – Agenda Item 11.2