Summit County close to implementing short-term rental regulations for unincorporated properties
August 24, 2018
Summit County is close to taming the burgeoning short-term rental industry, with the county planning commission ready to introduce a final set of draft regulations to the public on Monday. After incorporating public feedback and making final tweaks, the final regulations will be submitted for approval to the Board Of County Commissioners. The regulations seek to alleviate growing community concern about how the STR market is affecting neighborhood character.
If eventually approved, the regulations will require unincorporated Summit residential property owners to obtain a permit if they ever lease or exchange their unit for 30 days or less.
To obtain the permit, an owner will need to submit proof of a state tax license and other supporting documents, including a self-compliance affidavit. An owner or an owner's agent must also agree to live within 30 miles of the property and be available to respond to issues like noise or trash complaints, 24/7.
The regulations will also enforce limits to occupancy and parking for individual STR units. For occupancy, the limit is two people per bedroom plus an additional two occupants. An example cited is an occupancy limit of eight for a three-bedroom rental.
As far as parking, there will be a limit of five parking spaces for any single STR unit, with a minimum of two spaces for each unit and one space for each bedroom. Owners will be able to appeal for a reduction or increase in parking space limits if they can make their case that they can accommodate the vehicles, as well as assure the county that the limit change won't affect neighborhood character.
The owner must also sign a Good Neighbor policy and provide a copy of the policy and other relevant information to tenants when they stay. When advertising a unit on sites like Airbnb, Craigslist or VRBO, owners must include the permit number in the listing to track compliance and STR inventory.
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Health and safety rules will be enforced, with one of the most important provisions requiring STR units to properly bear-proof their trash containers.
To help enforce the regulations, the county will contract a third-party monitoring company that will monitor STR listings for compliance, as well as track complaints from tenants and neighbors. Should there be multiple and/or egregious complaints filed against an owner, they may have their STR permit revoked in an administrative hearing. The county finished accepting bids for third-party monitoring last week, and should have a contract signed if the regulations are enacted.
Because of the county's limited legislative authority, the regulations will be enacted through the county's land use and development code. This means that while the county can't regulate people, it can set restrictions on how the land is used. In practice, that means the county can't restrict the number of STR units any individual owner can own, but can require that every unit has its own permit.
Planning director Don Reimer said the regulations are necessary due to numerous negative effects of an unregulated STR market cited by locals.
"Being heavy handed is not the purpose of these regulations," Reimer said. "We realize STRs are very important to our tourist-based economy. At the same time, residential neighborhoods are not meant for commercial use, they completely alter a neighborhood's character. We are also looking through lens of health, safety and welfare, which is what all zoning codes are based (on). A lot of these regulations are intended to be more responsive to concerns from the community."
Reimer added that state law requires sales tax collected on any commercial enterprise. Those sales taxes will pay for the county and state to provide the increasing amount of resources being devoted to keeping up with visitors and their needs, such as emergency services and infrastructure.
The Countywide Planning Commission public hearing will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Monday in the Buffalo Mountain Room at the Summit County Commons, 37 Peak One Drive, in Frisco. Members of the public will be able to provide comment. To review the agenda and proposed regulations in their entirety, visit the Summit County Planning Department website at Co.summit.co.us/planning.