Dillon to move forward with short-term rental regulations after final public meeting
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct Kevin Lovett’s last name.
Town staff left the Tuesday, Dec. 21, Dillon Town Council meeting with final direction on how to move forward with changes to the town’s short-term rental regulations.
The town has been holding public work sessions to discuss short-term rentals with the community over the past few months, and while there are still some questions that remain to be answered, the Town Council will soon vote on an ordinance.
Included in the ordinance will be an annual fee of $250 for short-term rentals — up from $50 — which is intended to cover the cost of compliance, a complaint hotline and staff time. The applications will also include new questions about the unit, such as whether the owner plans to rent the whole unit or partially rent it, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the number of anticipated rental nights and the average nightly rental rate.
Also to be included is an occupancy limit on short-term rentals of two people per bedroom plus two. At the last public conversation on short-term rentals, Kevin Lovett with Summit Resort Group, spoke on behalf of Lake Dillon Condominiums, a complex near Dillon Reservoir that is traditionally used for short-term rentals.
Lovett said of the 30 units in the building, there are 24 one-bedroom units that are large enough to house six people when short-term renting. He asked the council to consider an exemption for this property, which he said has been used for six-person, short-term rentals for four decades.
Council members discussed the possibility with Lovett but ultimately decided they wanted to implement the new regulations before considering exemptions. While there was some discussion about creating criteria for exemptions, Mayor Carolyn Skowyra said it could be better to consider exemptions on a case-by-case basis.
“My inclination at this time is that we don’t make an exception right now,” Skowyra said. “I like the rules as we’ve come up with them. I think if we make an exception, it has to be after we’ve actually implemented the rule. And I think then, just like every other exception we make … it has to be sort of on a case-by-case basis. But I’m not sure I would be inclined to make an exception in this case.”
Town Attorney Nick Cotton-Baez said that when considering any exceptions, the town typically just needs to be presented with a good reason for requesting the change. If there is one, the town manager can grant an exception.
“That’s certainly something we can do,” Cotton-Baez said. “The best way to do it is to actually come up with criteria for waivers of requirements. But good cause shown gives the town discretion, so it’s finding the balance between some concrete criteria and an exception for good cause shown, and I think we can effectively do that.”
While nothing about exceptions will be written into the ordinance, the conversation will continue. The same is the case for a potential excise tax, as the town didn’t want to rush a tax question to get it on the April municipal ballot. Rather, the town plans to wait and see how similar initiatives go in Frisco and Silverthorne and will consider a question for the November 2022 election.
Other changes will allow the town to institute interest and penalties on late payments of the short-term rental fee, including a $20 per day penalty and 1% interest per day for a 30-day period. If the license fee is unpaid after 30 days, the license will be revoked for a one-year period.
Also included are new parking requirements of at least one parking space per licensed unit. Staff will continue working on a parking impact fee for spaces not included in parking lots, including one spot per bedroom for units with two or more bedrooms.
Compliance inspections, likely based on complaints, will also be available at any time with owner permission, and owners must sign an affidavit addressing safety issues.
The town ended the meeting with no additional direction or decisions on potential caps or limitations.
“I think we had a lot of great discussions for this,” council member Karen Kaminski said. “… At this point, I don’t think we need to have additional discussion because we put so much effort into it already, so I’m happy with what we have.”
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