Breckenridge to tighten deed restrictions on ‘accessory dwelling units’ |

Breckenridge to tighten deed restrictions on ‘accessory dwelling units’

BRECKENRIDGE — At the Breckenridge Town Council work session Tuesday, Feb. 11, council discussed tightening the ordinance that requires accessory dwelling units, also called accessory apartments, to be deed restricted to people who work at least 30 hours in the county.

This piece of the development code was added in February 2019, but town planner Jeremy Lott said it has been difficult to enforce. He said units have been built that do not technically meet the code standard for an accessory apartment but can be used as “lock off” units that have small kitchens. 

“Staff is proposing changes to the existing development code to make the accessory apartment policy more enforceable and reduce the likelihood of the town approving primary unit designs that could be easily converted into a separate ‘lock-off’ units,” Lott wrote in a memo to council. “The primary focus of the code changes is to minimize the potential for the proliferation of additional short-term rentals, while still encouraging the use of accessory dwelling units for workforce housing.”

Despite the proposed tighter restrictions, Mayor Eric Mamula remained concerned about the enforceability of the code as well as the fact that the code does not allow a homeowner’s family members to stay in the unit unless they meet the workforce requirement. 

“We’re not going around Christmas week telling people they can’t have their families in this unit,” Mamula said. “I don’t like to create difficult enforcement things. I think that’s difficult on the staff.”

Council member Dick Carleton also was concerned about enforceability.

“It’s still based on the honor system until we audit somebody,” Carleton said.

Town Manager Rick Holman countered that the requirement likely will discourage people from building these types of units in the first place. 

“I think it’s better than not doing anything,” council member Wendy Wolfe agreed. “It’s going to at least give some pause to this short-term rental explosion.”

Planning staff said the goal of updating the code is to close loopholes in the definition of accessory apartments.

At the end of the discussion, Mamula said staff could move forward if it wanted to take on the issue.

“Would that be a paid gig to go around to these units?” council member Jeffrey Bergeron asked, jokingly. “I’d go around on my e-bike.”

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