Home News Short-term rental debate heats up with public comments

Short-term rental debate heats up with public comments

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The Steamboat Springs Planning Commission recommends a short-term rental overlay zone map for city council approval. The map divides the city into three color zones, with different short-term rental restrictions in each zone.
Steamboat Springs City / Provided Images

The City Hall made a noise on Tuesday night, May 10, as the Steamboat Springs City Council took feedback on the proposed zoning map to regulate short-term rentals and short-term rental owners totally opposed the proposal.

Public comments on Short-term rental overlay map Opening at 7 pm, by that time there were more than 50 people in the city council’s meeting room, and the Zoom feed that remotely carried the meeting was a busy grid of small boxes.

Members of the council knew this was coming. They brought in an additional three-minute countdown clock and placed it in the front and center for everyone to see. They asked everyone to line up five at a time while waiting for comments.

The crowd was initially obliged, but it didn’t take long for people to ignore the direction and get stuck in a line that stretched out of the door. The number of people who supported the proposed map was high, about 2: 1.

Overlay maps are created by the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission to limit the number of short-term rentals according to the three color subzones.

If the overlay map is approved, residents in the red area will not be able to obtain short-term rental licenses, the yellow area will be capped on a certain number of licenses, and the green zone will be limited to the number of short-term rentals allowed. Will disappear. .. This plan works in parallel with another ordinance that requires a short-term rent to obtain a license to operate within the city limits.

Most people who oppose overlay maps live or own property along Walton Creek Road, also known as “Condo Land.” Shadowrun and Sunray Meadows condos were also well represented by residents who opposed overlay maps, as these two complexes were designated in the red zone.

As written, the ordinance allows current short-term rental owners to continue their business in restricted areas through legally non-conforming use and applies during the six-month grace period after the ordinance comes into force. can.

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Proponents of the overlay map said that permitting legal nonconformity use designations is a major compromise, given that the original plan entertained by the city council completely banned short-term rentals.

“(Short-term rental owners) don’t lose anything, but they want more,” one resident told a member of the council.

On the other hand, some short-term rental owners praised the idea of ​​their existing short-term rental grandfather, while criticizing the process as confusing and the six-month grace period was too short. They argued that the proposed restrictions on the new license would still reduce the value of their assets.

The potential impact of overlay maps on property values ​​has been repeatedly addressed.

“On the East Coast where we lived, our condos at the time were sold for $ 100,000 at market prices due to the simple restrictions on short-term rentals,” said real estate owners in the Walton Creek area. I did.

Andrew Beckler, a local business owner, responded to the debate with his own observations.

“The value of these assets is now artificially inflated because they are based on potential income,” he said. “These are residential areas and no income is required.”

Beckler also urged Congress to consider the value of the town’s businesses, which are being pushed down by limited personnel due to housing shortages.

However, some opponents said they would invest in real estate at a fixed price in anticipation of short-term rental income, and without that income they would have a hard time paying their mortgages.

Opponents of the overlay zone also argue that short-term rentals benefit the city by bringing in commercial and sales taxes.

Some opposition to the new zoning map argued that the housing crisis should be resolved by increasing supply rather than regulating short-term leasing.

However, Jason Peesley, executive director of the Yampa Valley Housing Corporation, refuted their claim.

“We are currently preparing to lease 90 units,” he said. “Currently, 800 households are looking for rental apartments. There are 3,000 vacation rentals. Now, not all of them are long-term rentals, but some are.”

Another resident tried to blame Peesley’s remarks, claiming that “there is no evidence that restricting the existence of STRs will create a home.”

Many of the overlay map opponents explained that they are either part-time real estate that occupies part of the year themselves, or that mortgages are so high that they lack the potential for long-term housing. Anyway, I can afford to buy a unit.

The city has not conducted a formal survey on the number of long-term rentals that will enter the market if short-term rentals are subject to strict restrictions. City officials said such studies would be expensive and would take a long time.

Many who oppose overlay maps are part of the Homeowners’ Association, who felt that overlay maps were inconsistent with their own declaration permitting short-term rentals.

The planning committee’s recommendation for the city council to adopt overlay maps included a recommendation not to exclude HOA from the overlay zone. City. The city council is still considering how to incorporate the HOA into the overlay map.

Opponents have repeatedly argued that overlay maps are an infringement of homeowner ownership that could lead to proceedings, but there were some common grounds.

Opposition generally agreed that license requirements and enforcement of rules for short-term leasing were acceptable, but drew a tough line on limiting the number of licenses issued by many.

In those voices, the common rationale is that by enforcing the terms of the short-term rental license, the impact of short-term rental on the character of the community, especially the issues raised regarding noise, garbage and parking complaints. It was to solve most of them.

The public comment session was extended by 30 minutes, but there were still members of the community who didn’t have the opportunity to speak. There will be another public comment session at the Centennial Hall, 12410th St, on Tuesday, May 17th at 6pm.

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