Breckenridge Town Council continues discussion on short-term licensing

Breckenridge Town Council wants areas close to tourist areas — like downtown pictured here on Monday, April 25, — to have higher densities of short term rentals than quiet, residential neighborhoods, according to its plan.
Andrew Maciejewski/Summit Daily News

Breckenridge Town Council further discussed short term rentals at its meeting on Tuesday, focusing this time on exempt versus non-exempt rentals.

Community development director Mark Truckey presented data to Breckenridge Town Council on Tuesday.

In Zone 1, which is the tourism overlay zone, 73% of the units are licensed to be short-term rentals, or 3,210 of the 4,369 units. Of the 3,210 short-term units, 1,659 are exempt and 1,551 are non-exempt.

An exempt short-term rental has specific amenities that are laid out in the Town Code, and these types of rentals operate more similarly to a hotel rather than a traditional AirBnb or VRBO unit. These amenities include a 24-hour monitored phone system, 24-hour front desk and 24-hour private security. Some also include things that would more closely resemble a resort, such as a shuttle, on-site restaurants and bars, conference spaces, fitness centers, pools, hot tubs, spas, arcades, commercial services, and retail shops.

Another distinction of these properties from non-exempt properties is how they operate short-term renting. The units are individually owned, either outright or as timeshares. This means that the units still require a short-term rental license for each unit and not a lodging license for the property. When a visitor chooses to rent from an exempt property, they choose the size or type of the unit (studio, one-bedroom, etc.) instead of a specific unit.

“There are (non-exempt) properties that do have a pool or something like that,” Truckey said. “In general, these (amenities) are really high level that are associated with some of them. As you can see, like Beaver Run, the village, etc., with conference facilities and other types of amenities provided.”

Council member Todd Rankin said he would like to see an application where rentals can apply to potentially become exempt.

“(Exempt rentals) have to hit the qualifying factors, but it’s very low, and I’d like a lever,” he said.

Council member Dick Carleton said that lock off units — or units where individual bedrooms are rented out separately — complicates having complete numbers on how many units exist. He added that by having separate groups of guests all in one unit, lock-offs could be contributing to the traffic and congestion problem in Breckenridge, since different groups will bring their own transportation with them even though they are associated with one unit. Two of the properties the council discussed that use lock-offs are Grand Colorado on Peak 8 and Grand Lodge on Peak 7. Grand Colorado has 253 units with 84 short-term rental licenses, and Grand Lodge has 233 units with 78 short term rental licenses.

It’s likely that more exempt and non-exempt properties rent out space using lock-offs, but town staff did not have that data on Tuesday night.

“I’m trying to look at how many different families are going to come up at one time and not in unique families. They don’t know each other. They’re not traveling together,” Carleton said. “So they have their individual modes of transportation. They make their own individual reservations for ski rentals and bike rentals and restaurants and everything else. The reason I’m asking is its impact, so I guess I’m more interested in how many individual ads in Airbnb or wherever they advertise.”

At its April 26 meeting, council members discussed whether or not to combine the two types, but several members felt they needed more information before deciding on whether or not there should be a distinction. This means the current cap on non-exempt licenses, which is currently set at 2,200, would go up to a combined 3,700 when including the cap of 1,500 non-exempt.

Town Council did not make any new decisions regarding short-term licensing, but town manager Rick Holman said a significant amount of time will be carved out for more discussion about how the town will move forward at the May 24 meeting.

“There’s no right or wrong, but there’s certainly different strategies,” Holman said.

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