Summit County prepares for possible legal action against short-term rental regulations
Summit County officials say they are preparing for the possibility of legal action from property owners over recently passed regulations on short-term rentals.
During an April 4 Board of County Commissioners meeting, county officials said they became aware of a March 26 posting in a Facebook group run by property owners that outlines potential litigation against the county on behalf of property owners. Much of the discussion took place during an executive session, which was not open to the public.
Officials are recommending the county halt any further changes to its short-term rental policies, beyond what has already been approved, until any “impending litigation” comes into focus.
After passing a package of regulations during a Feb. 15 meeting, which included caps on short-term rental licenses in unincorporated parts of the county as well as a 35-booking limit for properties, commissioners had also considered creating a new license type for some rental units in the future.
“Given your legal advice, we will not be directing staff to explore or bring recommendations for a different license type at this time,” said Commissioner Josh Blanchard during the April 4 discussion.
“I agree, and I think we don’t have really a timeline because of potential litigation and when this could be,” said Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence. “Because of that, it’s indefinitely on hold.”
The 35-booking limit and license caps, though not in effect until licenses are up for renewal in September, will still move forward. The county will continue to accept applications for short-term rental licenses, officials said.
If and when litigation is introduced, the county’s attorneys said they are confident the regulations will be upheld.
“We believe the claims that have been threatened are without merit,” said County Attorney Jeff Huntley. “We think that we would be able to successfully defend any litigation against the county.”
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