Breckenridge Town Council continues to talk through ‘exempt’ short-term rentals

Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center is pictured Sunday, July 11. It is currently considered an "exempt" property and self-reported that 96% of units are short-term units.
Lindsey Toomer /Summit Daily News archive

In May, Breckenridge Town Council discussed “exempt” properties in the total count of short-term rentals, and on Tuesday, council members further discussed how to define resort-like units in town. 

“Exempt” properties typically operate more like a hotel rather than an Airbnb or VRBO unit, such as having 24-hour security or a front desk. Council members at the last meeting agreed that finding a new word for these resort-like properties and exact qualifications would be more appropriate moving forward. 

“It was felt that these larger resort properties could internally resolve guest and facility issues on site without involving town resources, such as the short-term rental hotline or calling the Breckenridge Police Department for non-emergency issues,” Sarah Crump, a planner for the town, said. 

According to the memo sent to the Town Council, there are 13 resort area exempt properties, and they have self-reported anywhere between 73% and 100% of their units being used as short-term rentals. Town staff presented a recommended list of requirements for these properties in order to have resort status. These include a 24-hour monitored front desk, a 24-hour monitored phone line, 24-hour private security, onsite housekeeping and laundry, minimum of 15,000 square feet of “developed amenity, conference or commercial space,” shuttle service and an enclosed parking garage. 

Council member Jay Beckerman said that using land-use guidelines may still be the easiest approach when discussing short-term rentals and that it would be impossible to create ironclad rules for what is and isn’t considered “resort-area.”  

“The thing that I’ve heard over and over and over again is that we’re picking winners and losers and how many times I was told that the Main Street Station units are flipping, and they keep going higher while some of the other units around town are stagnant or decreasing,” Beckerman said.

Mayor Eric Mamula said that some sort of distinction is needed since the resort-area properties have such high percentages of short-term rentals and operate differently that traditional ones. 

“There is no land use district, no category in town, that is as intense for short term rental usage, as these are,” Mamula said. “That’s why I think they operate separately. And to (Crump’s) point, they do handle stuff without using town resources. They have security. They have a way that if the guy next to you is being too loud, you call the front desk. I think those are very important differences as opposed to calling the property manager that will then call the resident and fix it or not.”

Council will have further discussions about what qualifications should still be included since there was some concern that some larger resort-area properties may not qualify under the new conditions and whether or not to give resort properties their own cap or include them in the overall cap. 

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