Dillon to update parking requirements, delinquency fines for short-term rentals
The Dillon Town Council returned to its discussions on short-term rentals last week, deciding on changes to regulations surrounding parking, fines and more.
Last month, town staff put an emergency ordinance on the Town Council’s agenda that would have established a moratorium on short-term rental licenses in town until April 2022 — a reaction to a surge in license requests from residents who had begun to sniff more regulatory changes in the wind following the passage of Breckenridge’s short-term rental cap and Summit County’s 90-day moratorium on licenses in unincorporated areas.
The Town Council voted down the emergency moratorium, instead choosing to dedicate time at the end of each twice-monthly work session meeting to short-term rental topics in hopes of better including community members in the decision-making process. The meetings have been sparsely attended so far, but they have been productive.
Earlier this month, the Town Council decided to increase licensing fees, set new occupancy limits and add additional questions to its short-term rental license applications. During the most recent meeting Oct. 19, the council agreed on changes to fines, parking requirements and inspections.
Town Manager Nathan Johnson said there are property owners in town whose short-term rental licenses have lapsed and are no longer valid, but the town currently doesn’t enforce any fines for delinquent owners who continue to rent. The Town Council decided to implement a new fine system, wherein delinquent property owners would be charged daily with a late fee of $20 in addition to 1% of the license fee, which will come out to $2.50 once the town’s license fee price increases early next year.
If property owners don’t pay the fee and fines within 30 days of their license expiring, they would be barred from obtaining a new license for a year.
The penalties are purposefully severe in an effort to encourage rental owners to stay compliant.
“I kind of like the idea … that if you’re not playing by the rules, there’s a big hammer coming down on you,” Mayor Carolyn Skowyra said, “and having that sort of ability in the town to say, ‘We don’t necessarily want you doing only short-term rentals … because short term has these big consequences if you don’t do it right.’”
The town also doesn’t currently have any parking requirements specific to short-term rentals, and many rental properties in town are without adequate parking in their complexes. That means some are sending their renters to town-owned lots or forcing residents to do the same.
To solve the problem, the Town Council decided to charge an impact fee on property owners who can’t prove they have sufficient parking. For owners with a studio or one-bedroom unit, the town would assume they have a spot for their renters. For larger units, owners would have to prove they have one deeded parking spot per bedroom — a spot or permit assigned specifically to that unit — otherwise an impact fee would be tacked onto the license. The council didn’t ultimately decide at the meeting what that fee would be.
“I think we put the onus back on them to provide adequate parking,” Finance Director Carri McDonnell said. “… Look at it that way: It’s putting the responsibility back on the business.”
Finally, the Town Council approved changes to the town’s policies on short-term rental inspections. The town’s code currently allows staff to conduct an inspection of a rental unit for things like fire hazards and unsanitary conditions prior to the issuance or renewal of a license. The update would essentially allow town staff to conduct inspections outside of those designated times when necessary, likely based on complaints.
The town will also begin requiring short-term rental owners to provide a signed affidavit with their license applications affirming certain health and life safety measures are in the unit, such as operable smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, toilets, sinks and showers, among others.
The town is expected to implement all of its recent changes to short-term rental policies and regulations at one time in January 2022.
The Town Council will host at least two more work sessions on short-term rental issues this year. On Nov. 2, the council is scheduled to discuss a potential excise tax for lodging, which could be added as a ballot question for town voters next year if they ultimately support the move. The town is scheduled to discuss the possibility of a cap on short-term rentals Nov. 16.
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