Breckenridge Town Council begins to narrow down short-term rental regulations

Breckenridge Town Council has continually discussed short-term rental regulations for the past several months, and the council may come to a conclusion within the coming weeks.
Mark Fox/Summit Daily News archive

For the past few weeks, Breckenridge Town Council members focused on how to define resort-area properties — formerly known as “exempt properties” — and on Tuesday briefly discussed other residential zones on the potential short-term rental map.

Mark Truckey, community development director, said town staff members put together two options for short-term rental zones: Option A and Option B. Option A was designed if the council were to adopt a resort property exemption, and Option B was created if that distinction is not made and all short-term rentals near the ski area are lumped into one group. Both options end in the same total units and total short-term rentals, but they each break up zones differently. 

This table shows the number of total units and the number of those total units that are short-term rentals within each zone based on the two options identified for Zone 1. Resort properties are separated out in Option A and not included in the zone calculations but are included in Option B zone calculations.
Town of Breckenridge/Courtesy image

In previous meetings, some council members expressed interest in looking at how the map may look if the town switched gears to use land-use districts to identify zones rather than focusing on traditional neighborhoods and drawing boundaries that way. 

Zone 1, which would already have the highest allowance for short-term rentals, already corresponds with a lot of land-use guidelines that allow for higher density. 

Most council members were on board with Option B, but they still wanted additional resort status for certain properties that offer amenities such as shuttles or conference space. Council member Kelly Owens said that using the boundaries of Option B while also creating a distinction for resort units may be the best way to go.

Under Option B, criteria for Zone 1 would be for all land-use districts that include one of the following: “desired character and function” of the district including phrases related to the bed base of the ski area, within walking distance or close proximity to lifts, support of ski base facilities and other similar phrases; residential uses of 15 units per acre or greater; and allows for “lodging.” These properties are west of Main Street and south of North French Street. 

For overlay Zone 2, this would allow a smaller percentage of short-term rentals. Residential units must use 12 units per acre or greater (as identified under land-use districts “Acceptable Land Uses and Intensities”), that do not qualify within Zone 1. Properties must be south of North French Street and south of Wellington Road.

“I think one of the things that I do like about B is that there aren’t carve outs and so it feels like people would know, Realtors would know (and) the people living there would know if they’re in or they’re out. There wouldn’t be weird boundaries to consider,” Owens said. “I don’t know if that’s a real deal breaker, but I also like the resort (status).” 

Council member Dick Carleton said that at this point, he hoped that council could get to a decision soon, since the council has continually discussed short-term rentals for the past several months. 

“We’ve been working on this a long time. I think we made a lot of progress. Thank you to (town staff),” Carleton said. “You’ve been at every meeting, and we seem to give you a long list of more things that we want to see. The real estate community really needs to — and with interest rates going up and the economy flattening and economic confidence going down — I don’t know that it’s fair to them to just continue to look and look.  I would like to see us kind of wrap it up on our end.”

Mayor Eric Mamula said that further details of the overlay district will be discussed at the July 12 meeting, and a potential first reading could be planned for July 26. 

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