A majority of survey responses say the county should regulate short-term rentals based on perceived negative impacts | SummitDaily.com

A majority of survey responses say the county should regulate short-term rentals based on perceived negative impacts

A view of housing near the recpath and Dillon Reservoir in Frisco is pictured April 22, 2020. Results from Summit County Government's short-term rental questionnaire, which opened on July 11, 2022, showed that a majority of respondents believe that short-term rentals negatively affect Summit County's neighborhoods and communities.
Liz Copan/Summit Daily News archives

Respondents of a recent survey believe the county should take legislative action to offset negative impacts of short-term rentals, according to data gathered from Summit County government’s short-term rental survey that went live July 11.

On May 24, the Summit Board of County Commissioners voted to begin a nine-month moratorium on short-term rental licenses. During that time, commissioners hoped to figure out solutions to create more workforce housing, preserve neighborhood character, reduce conflicts between primary residential users and short-term rental properties, and balance the concerns of Summit County locals with concerns of various property owners before finally adopting clear short-term rental regulations. 

Part of the plan to achieve these goals was to collect public input about short-term rentals and their perceived impacts on the community. 

At the commissioners’ work session on Tuesday, Jessica Potter, the senior planner of the Summit County Planning Department, presented data collected from the survey.

From the data collected, the county gleaned information on how respondents feel about short-term rentals. 

Who participated? 

A total of 1,766 surveys were completed, and 2,153 surveys were started, according to the presentation. 

In terms of where respondents live a majority of the year, 71% live within Summit County, about 17% live outside of Summit County but still in Colorado and about 12% live completely outside of Colorado. 

Due to the high number of responses, Potter said she believes the survey is representative of Summit County.

Out of the participants, a majority of respondents were people who live in communities where there are short-term rentals.  

Of short-term rental owners that participated in the survey, the highest number were owners located in Breckenridge, with Wildernest coming in second. 

With folks who owned short-term rentals, about 61% of respondents answered “I (short-term rent) more than 30 nights a year, and I also use it for my personal use more than 30 nights a year.” 

How do folks feel about short-term rentals? 

Respondents were asked to share their opinion on how short-term rentals have affected — positively or negatively — different elements of Summit County. 

In a question asking respondents to finish the following statement — “Summit County has always been a resort community with (short-term rentals). However, in the last five years with the rise of sites like Airbnbs, (short-term rentals) have increased. Just considering the last five years, (short-term rentals) have:” — the most-selected opinion said short-term rentals have “been mostly negative.”                

In response to the question “just considering the last five years, how have (short-term rentals) impacted the local residential neighborhoods in Summit County,” a majority of respondents, about 48%, answered that they have impacted neighborhoods negatively. Only about 15% answered that they had impacted neighborhoods positively. 

Lastly, about 56% of respondents said short-term rentals have changed the character of the Summit County community “more negatively than positively.” 

What are the top incidents, or complaints, that result from short-term rentals? 

The top five complaints from people about short-term rentals are ranked, most to least, as follows: noise, parking, trash, renting without an active license, and over occupancy.

The highest number of incidents from November 2021 until Aug. 10 were from Wildernest and Peak 7, with 39 complaints and 30 complaints respectively. 

How do people feel short-term rentals have affected housing stock? 

About 65% of respondents in the survey answered that for the past five years, short-term rentals have reduced the number of units available for long-term rentals. 

On top of this, around 73% said that short-term rentals increased real estate prices. 

What is the public consensus on how short-term rentals affect the economy? 

Though responses from public showed many people believe short-term rentals negatively impact the character and integrity of Summit County, responses also showed that people believe short-term rentals have positively impacted Summit County’s economy.

Around 60% of respondents agreed that rentals are good for the economy, and only around 28% said the opposite — that short-term rentals have negatively affected the economy. 

The planning department included in the survey that “53% of tourism jobs in (Summit County) are directly employed by the short term rental industry.” This equates to about 8,100 total jobs that are connected to the short-term rental industry in the county. 

How do respondents feel about potential regulations? 

The majority of respondents believed that the new regulations should reduce the number of short-term rentals in neighborhood overlay zones.

Summit County’s Land Use & Development code defines neighborhood overlay zones as areas that require specific needs when developing, “including defining areas where specific regulations related to short-term vacation rentals may apply.”

The mitigation tactic that had the most votes for lessening impacts caused by short-term rentals was to limit the overall number of them in the county. And, when choosing what areas would be best for short-term rentals in comparison to areas that would be bad, respondents said complaints from neighbors should be the overall deciding factor. 

There are many regulations on the table, but none have been decided yet. 

During the work session, however, Potter asked the commissioners if they were open to, at some point, pursuing caps on short-term rentals. 

Commissioner Tamara Pogue, Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence and Commissioner Joshua Blanchard all said yes. They were open to pursuing caps on short-term rentals. The nature in which the caps would be instated, however, was not certain. 

Though they were all open to caps, the commissioners all agreed that there isn’t an easy answer to how many caps there would be and where they would apply. They also weren’t sure if they should be initiated through a blanket policy or by regions. 

More information about the process to regulate short-term rentals and what events are coming up next can be found on the county’s short-term rental regulations website, located on the Summit County government’s “short-term rentals” webpage (SummitCountyCO.gov) in the hyperlink, “project website.”

The survey is still open for public comment, and data is continuing to be updated as responses roll in. The link can also be found on the short-term rental regulations website.

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