Breckenridge considers a freeze on new short-term rental licenses as it works to organize stakeholder discussions |

Breckenridge considers a freeze on new short-term rental licenses as it works to organize stakeholder discussions

Townhomes at the base of Peak 8 in Breckenridge are pictured Nov. 20. Many of the properties in Breckenridge are used by owners as second homes and for short-term rentals. The town is looking for ways to limit long-term rental units turning into short-term rentals.
Photo by Jason Connolly / Jason Connolly Photography

Breckenridge plans to organize discussions with stakeholder groups to come up with ways to address an increase in short-term rentals in town. In the meantime, Breckenridge Town Council is considering a moratorium on new short-term rental licenses.

Town Manager Rick Holman said the Breckenridge Town Council has a discussion planned for its meeting April 27 to revisit regulations for short-term rental properties. He said town staff is looking at regulations other ski towns have put into place, but he doesn’t think there will be much new information. Holman suggested the town engage stakeholder groups in the short-term rental discussion due to the weight new regulations could carry.

Mayor Eric Mamula said he wants to make sure decisions the town makes to regulate short-term rentals are data-driven.

“I would say that the problem we’re trying to solve is the loss of locals living in our community,” Mamula said. “If that’s our overarching goal, that we want to keep the soul of the community intact, we want the people that work here to live here — that’s our goal — what does that mean and what is the data telling us is happening right now? That’s what that group has got to put together. We need to understand all the ramifications along the way.”

Council member Dick Carleton said there should be several roundtable discussions: one with representatives from the real estate industry, one with representatives from the business industry and local workforce, and one with people in the property management business, including short-term rental representatives using websites like Airbnb. Other council members agreed with Carleton’s suggestion.

Council member Erin Gigliello said the focus of the roundtable discussions should be on finding solutions to the increase in short-term rental units.

“There needs to be an understanding that we are looking for solutions that have something to do with short-term rentals,” Gigliello said. “I don’t want the solution to be, ‘Well, the town should build more workforce housing.’ I will go crazy. … I would love that to be a caveat that ‘no’ is not the answer or ‘This is the town’s problem’ is not the answer.”

Holman said staff would begin to organize who could make up the roundtable groups, noting that it could end up taking several rounds of discussions. He said staff also would come up with discussion points for the roundtable members.

As for a temporary moratorium on new licenses, Carleton said there doesn’t seem to be a big rush to apply for new short-term rental licenses, so a moratorium might not be necessary, but if the town does see a rush for licenses, a moratorium should be put in place.

Holman noted that in the past two weeks, three new short-term rental license applications were submitted. In the past year, more than 100 licenses for new short-term rentals have been approved.

Council members Kelly Owens and Gigliello expressed concerns that the conversation the council is having regarding new restrictions on short-term rentals could increase demand, and they were in favor of a moratorium.

In order to place a moratorium, Mamula said the council should back it up by having data that says the town has lost a certain number of long-term rental units to the short-term rental industry. Holman confirmed that data exists and said the council could place a moratorium on short-term rental licenses on nonexempt properties — which would take lodging companies like Beaver Run out of the equation — that are less than a certain number of square feet. Holman said the purpose of applying the moratorium to properties less than 2,000 square feet, for example, could capture units that traditionally were owner occupied or rented out long term.

Council members Dennis Kuhn and Jeffrey Bergeron jumped on board with a moratorium, making the majority of the council in favor of putting a hold on new licenses. Holman said a moratorium could be approved at the next Town Council meeting April 13 or a special meeting could be called to put the moratorium in place sooner.

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