Breckenridge short-term rental regulations are officially put into place

Downtown Breckenridge is pictured here on Monday, April 25. Town Council officially approved tourism overlay zones to limit short-term rentals in residential areas.
Andrew Maciejewski/Summit Daily News

Breckenridge Town Council unanimously approved short-term rental regulations on second reading Tuesday, officially bringing tourism overlay zones to residential areas across town. 

At its last meeting, the council unanimously approved the ordinance’s first reading after about two hours of public comment. This week, several more people spoke to the council before the vote. 

Since the first reading, staff made several changes from the original ordinance. Town attorney Kristen Crawford said one of the bigger changes was to add that if a new property comes online and meets the criteria for a resort property, it would then be deemed a resort property. If a property is deemed a resort property, that property cannot be in any other zone. 

“We thought (the change) was important, so that an owner or applicant would not be able to potentially say, ‘I want to stay in Zone 1,’ for example, in order to get those sorts of licenses,” she said. “It incentivizes the sort of things that we’ve decided that we find valuable, such as amenities and conference space.”

The regulations were passed through two ordinances. The first will create the mapped areas and the rules for rentals that correlate with the zones, including the tourism overlay district. Specifically, it will outline four areas that the council has discussed for the past several months: the tourism overlay, resort properties (formerly known as “exempt” properties), the downtown core and other areas such as residential neighborhoods. If the council had voted this down, the 2,200-license cap established in 2021 would still be in effect, but there would be no zones. 

The second ordinance is more generally applicable to all categories of business and occupational licensees, including short-term rental licenses. An accommodation unit licensee must not only apply for and receive a business and occupational license, but they also must pay the associated tax. In addition, an accommodation unit licensee must further comply with the new regulations. 

“I know it’s not perfect,” council member Jeffrey Bergeron said. “I think we can tweak it down. There’s been some particular properties mentioned that we can look at. (Here are) some stats. We have the second-highest (short-term rental) per capita in America. When I first got on the council, we were in a crisis.”

In September, Breckenridge Town Council voted unanimously to pass an ordinance capping the number of nonexempt short-term rental licenses at 2,200, following nearly five hours of public comment overwhelmingly against the move. The town also received more than 450 emails for public comment, which were shared with the Town Council.

Currently, there are 79 units on the waitlist to receive a short-term rental license. In November, council passed a regulatory fee of $400 per studio/bedroom per year for short-term rentals in 2022. Next year, the fee is expected to be raised to $756.

Dan Corwin, a Realtor in Breckenridge, said he supports the ordinances. He added that many locals who do support the regulations may not speak at public comment but that does not mean they do not exist. 

“I have been here for 44 years, own my own real estate company and feel we are all so lucky to live in such a fantastic place,” he said. “I have not been to these meetings in person because the mayor and Town Council know I support and agree with what they have been doing regarding (short-term rentals). There are many other people in the community who feel the same way and don’t see the need to come to these meetings in person since we don’t have anything to object to. We are a silent majority. We want to see these new regulations and ordinances put in place.”

Council will meet to look at the effects and review the ordinance again in February. At that time, they can make any changes they feel appropriate.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.