Some Breckenridge property owners concerned about what’s to come from new short-term rental ordinances

The town passed a first reading on the new measures with a second reading scheduled for Aug. 23

This map shows the zones of each land-use district. Blue designates Zone Three, pink is Zone Two and green is Zone 1. Yellow areas are "resort properties," and have their own cap. A searchable map can be found at
Town of Breckenridge/Courtesy image

Property owners and managers gathered at Breckenridge Town Hall on Tuesday night, Aug. 9 to express concerns about the town’s new ordinances, which would divide the town into tourism, downtown and residential zones for short-term rental licensing.

Of the speakers, many were owners in Zone Three, which has the lowest allowance for short-term rentals. Over the past few weeks, the council has discussed protecting the character of neighborhoods that are traditionally for the workforce. Passed at first reading, the map uses the town’s land-use districts and guidelines to designate what neighborhoods go into their respective zones. Others were concerned about future legislation that would impact fees put on rentals.

This graph shows the caps of each zone.
Town of Breckenridge/Courtesy image

Matthew Schroeder, a Zone Three property owner who moved to Breckenridge after retiring from Goldman Sachs, said that though he personally does not rent out his home, restrictions put on his property would greatly affect its property value, as it would with other districts in Zone Three. If a property owner in Zone Three were to sell their home after the ordinance is passed on second reading, they could not transfer their current short-term rental license to the new owners. They must join the town’s waitlist. 

Many of the property owners that spoke on Tuesday said that this was not fair and could be detrimental to the values of their properties since many buyers go into the home-buying process expecting to rent it out. Some brought up cases of some Zone Three neighborhoods that they believe should be moved to a more lenient zone, such as land-use district 30.5 and district 10.

“There are 3,893 properties in Zone Three, according to the town’s website,” Schroeder said. “With an average value of say approximately 1.5 million, you get our approximate market value of $6 billion in Zone Three. At a 1% loss, we’ve made a loss of $60 million.”

Schroeder proposed a compromise that he said could appease homeowners looking to rent and for community members that are concerned about negative impacts on their neighborhoods. He said that allowing property owners to rent during busier parts of the year would allow for some profit at times when the town is already heavily impacted. 

“What I propose is that (short-term rentals) be permitted in Zone Three only during the months of February, March, July and the holidays — three-and-a-half months out of 12 — to provide some cash flow to property second owners, but it also balances the concerns of my neighbors on Highlands Drive and so forth.”

Tanya Delahoz, chair of the town’s planning commission, also spoke about her concerns about how the ordinance could affect real estate in Breckenridge.

“As a Realtor, so I have skin in the game. I have several buyers and sellers that are tied to this, but I’m going to lose those transactions. That doesn’t matter to me,” Delahoz said. “I would prefer to go into this with fairness, and I would rather you listen to your constituents and listen to the comments that we have had and listen to what they have had to say. Speaking as the chair of our planning commission — I’m not going to speak of everyone on the planning commission — but I will speak on behalf of several of the members of the planning commission that are saying that this is not the way that we want the town to go.”

Though the vast majority of comments were against the ordinances, Breckenridge resident James Bradley said he supports the council’s move to designate neighborhoods from other areas that are more tourism-focused. 

“Having lived next door to a short-term rental for 11 years now, I would much rather have a vacant house six months out of the year than noise and parking issues in the community that we all face — the ones that live in close proximity to (short-term rentals),” he said. “I think (the council is) looking out for us, and I appreciate the thinking about the typical vacation rental home or the short-term rental home.”

Mayor Eric Mamula added that most of the time, people show up for public comment on things they do not like, but he has received a lot of feedback from the community about the support they have for the new measures. After public comment, council members relayed their own feelings about the ordinance before unanimously approving it on first reading. 

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