Dillon continues to discuss options for potential short-term rental limitations
Town Council members say they want to take their time to ensure the right decisions are made
While the Dillon Town Council continues to discuss whether to regulate short-term rentals, one thing is clear: There will not be a question looking to raise rental taxes on Dillon’s April ballot.
Not many decisions were made at the Town Council’s latest community discussion about short-term rentals, but the council heard feedback from members of the public, tossing ideas back and forth about the best potential solutions.
The council looked at what other municipalities in the county are doing, specifically a cap on the number of rentals in Breckenridge, the new tiered license system in unincorporated Summit County, the proposed excise tax for short-term rentals in Frisco and discussions about increasing the lodging tax across the board in Silverthorne. Council also discussed the possibility of a percentage cap based on zoning.
“I don’t think we’re trying to punish anyone,” Mayor Carolyn Skowyra said. “We’re trying to find a balance for our community.”
According to a work session memo, Dillon has 1,356 housing units, and 357 of them, or 26%, had a short-term rental license as of mid-November.
In order to have a ballot question for the April municipal election, the question would need to be finalized by mid- to late January. Council members ultimately agreed that while a tax question is still a consideration, they didn’t want to rush through planning it and said it wouldn’t make a large difference if the question was ultimately asked on the November ballot.
Town Attorney Nick Cotton-Baez also noted to council that ballot questions that are vague about where the tax money will go are much less likely to pass, so council wants to be sure it is sending the money to the right projects.
If council does decide to move forward with a tax increase ballot question, members were split on whether it should be for all lodging, like Silverthorne is discussing, or just for short-term rentals, like Frisco is moving forward with. Council members agreed that the additional time to see how things play out in other municipalities can also be a benefit to the town.
Council member Renee Imamura said she is against use limitations, as she doesn’t like the idea of telling a property owner what they can and can’t do with their homes. Rather, she said there should be consequences for those who don’t comply with rules and receive multiple complaints.
“I still wouldn’t want to take somebody’s right away,” Imamura said. “… Telling property owners what you can and cannot do, in my opinion, I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
Council members also discussed ways they could improve the short-term rental complaint hotline to make it more of a well-known resource, noting that many folks don’t want to provide a name with their complaint — which is required — out of fear of retaliation from the neighbor they are complaining about.
When discussing potential caps based on different neighborhoods or zoning, council was also split on the best move. While some were concerned about protecting the more low-density, residential neighborhoods, others questioned whether local workers living in a high-density condo would want to feel like they live in a hotel, being constantly surrounded by short-term rentals.
Another concern was relating to the different kinds of short-term rental owners: While some folks live in their home and rent it out when they go on vacation, others buy a property as an investment just to short-term rent. Skowyra was intrigued to hear from a member of the public about Denver’s policy, which only allows someone to short-term rent their primary residence.
While there is still no plan to vote on any restrictions or caps in the near future, Town Council will do a recap at its next work session to bring the community up to date on the latest with its short-term rental discussions and next steps.
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