Gibraltar Gets Tough on Noncompliant Businesses and STRs

The Town of Gibraltar has added some teeth to its ordinance that requires all businesses and short-term-rental (STR) unit owners to obtain an annual business or STR license. 

The town adopted the licensing ordinance last year, so 2022 is the first full year of the program.

“One flaw emerged,” said Travis Thyssen, town administrator. “How do we enforce it if someone refuses to get a license?”

The majority of businesses filled out the paperwork and paid the $45 annual license fee. The town has received 125 business licenses and 100 STR licenses.

“I would say 25-30 [STRs] are outstanding, and they’ve all received notices,” Thyssen said. “There are two [dozen] to three dozen businesses that also haven’t paid.”

Town treasurer Theresa Cain-Bieri has been going door to door trying to collect from the errant businesses and STR owners. 

“She shouldn’t have to do that,” Thyssen told the Gibraltar Town Board on July 6, the evening the board unanimously passed amendments to the ordinance that add a fee schedule and other noncompliance measures.

The licenses, which run on a calendar year, must be in hand by March 1, or the business will be charged a $100 fine and given 30 days to comply. If a second notification of noncompliance is issued, it comes with a $500 fine. A third notification of noncompliance would arrive in the form of a slip on a business’s or STR’s door stating it must cease operations until license compliance is achieved.

“Our intent is not to punish anybody; our intent is just to get your license,” Thyssen said.

The town adopted the business and STR licenses as a way to gain emergency-contact information for all businesses and to ensure that STRs are operating in compliance with applicable state and county laws. All individuals who are listed as emergency contacts for either an STR or a business must live not more than 45 minutes away.