Summit County government leaders review latest data after implementing new short-term rental regulations in December
Officials reviewed enforcement protocols, how many applications have been received and more
It’s been over a month since Summit County government overhauled its short-term rental program, which left many community members feeling disgruntled about some of the new regulations.
When the Summit Board of County Commissioners voted to install the new changes, they promised community members that they’d continue to gather data and make tweaks as needed once the program takes full effect. They started making good on that promise during a work session meeting on Tuesday, where Summit County Senior Planner Jessica Potter presented the board with the latest data and insights about the new program.
According to a memo produced by Potter, the county has received 63 short-term rental applications since the new program took effect as of Jan. 10. Of that total, 48 applications are based in a neighborhood overlay zone, and 15 are located in a resort zone. Potter said she believed this ratio to be partly because of the pent-up demand for a license due to the temporary short-term rental license moratorium that was in effect for a few months last fall.
Potter also broke down how her team would be collecting various data points moving forward. This includes tracking the number of active licenses by both week and by month, how many applications for licenses are received per week, a percentage breakout of how many licenses are in resort zones and neighborhood zones, complaints, and breaking out data by neighborhood. Potter also said her team would be tracking home sales and how the use of these properties changes over time.
Potter then gave insight on how enforcement of short-term rental rules and regulations was being handled. This was a point of contention for many community members, especially those living in neighborhood zones. Since the adoption of the new program in December, Potter’s report said there’s been 44 substantiated complaints reported to the short-term rental hotline, 42 of which have been located in neighborhood zones.
About 19 of these have come from the Peak 7 neighborhood, and Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence expressed her satisfaction with keeping the area as a neighborhood zone.
“It sure stuck out to me that half of our neighborhood complaints were in one neighborhood, in Peak 7,” Lawrence said. “I feel much better about our decision in keeping that in a neighborhood zone, because obviously there are a lot of problems and issues up there.”
Potter said, in general, her team mostly issues warnings, and that it’s difficult to issue violations without evidence. Because of this, she said noise complaints are especially difficult to enforce.
Summit County Commissioner Tamara Pogue said she was worried that some of these complaints weren’t always equitable in how they were being treated.
“There’s a certain amount of subjectivity to this in terms of some folks just have a lower tolerance for these nuisance things and some have more, and it’s sometimes difficult to understand where that line is,” Pogue said.
Handling some of these violations and working closely with Potter’s team is the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons said his team is doing what it can to stay on top of complaints and calls, but at the end of the day, his team doesn’t have enough capacity due to the high volume of complaints.
FitzSimons explained that his department has a team of community service officers that not only handles much of the short-term rental complaints, but that they also handle parking and public health issues. He said finding the balance between all of these issues has been a challenge at times.
“We have to strike that balance between the parking issues, any public health issues, as well as the short-term rentals, so it’s really difficult,” FitzSimons said. “More times than we would like, and I’m sure than Jessica would like, we have patrol … responding to some of these and then transferring that information when the (community service officers) come back on duty. I would agree with you, Commissioner Pogue … that it is a capacity issue.”
Moving forward, the county will continue to track the data related to short-term rentals while also hosting public forums for property managers and real estate agents in February and March to give them the chance to voice their input.
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