Tensions run high at Summit County short-term rental open house

An interactive poster provided by the Summit County planning department is riddled with a mix of frowny faces and stars on Wednesday, July 28, 2022 at the last short term rental open house hosted at Dillon's town hall.
Eiliana Wright/Summit Daily News

The town of Dillon was home to a divided exchange regarding regulations on short-term rentals during Summit County government’s last public forum held Wednesday, July 27. 

The county implemented the open houses to collect public input on short-term rentals’ impact on the community so that officials could use the input to create legislation they hope to enact. They hope to take action on the issue before the end of the moratorium on issuing rental licenses for neighborhood zones, which expires in February. 

Officials from the county’s planning department attended the open house. They provided posters with short-term rental maps of each basin in Summit County, along with graphics that explained proposed short-term rental rules. 

The mood of the open house was divided. Many attended to protest the short-term rental regulations, but some were there to support efforts to make workforce housing more available. 

At the front of the room, an interactive poster provided stars that attendees could use to express approval of a proposed rule, but one attendee used a pen to draw frowny faces to express frustration. 

Jim Curnutte from the Summit County planning department said the main worries — whether for or against — seem to lie in placing a cap on short-term rentals. 

The county has considered putting a cap on all short-term rentals in the area, an idea Curnette said could help the local workforce housing dilemma since a third of all houses in Summit County have a short-term rental license. 

Lori Moeller and Nancy Madland, from Keystone West Ranch, do not own a short-term rental, and they are in favor of the regulations. The two live in a neighborhood where short-term rentals are in large houses instead of small condominiums. They said renters lie about the number of guests, and there is no system to monitor the behavior of the renters. Moeller said the short-term rental next to her often hosts parties that keep her up until 3 a.m. 

Kathleen O’Niel, from Colorado Springs, does not agree with the regulations and said she will not be renewing her short-term rental license past July 31 because of them. She has owned her apartment at the Summit Yacht Club since 2013 but only started to short-term rent in November 2021. 

She is frustrated about the extra fees that come with renting her apartment.

“I don’t rely on it to eat,” O’Niel said, but the increased price of owning a short-term rental is enough for her to throw in the towel. 

On the other end of the spectrum, Bentley Henderson, the assistant county manager, said he’s heard from many folks that rely on their short-term rentals to pay bills. 

He mentioned one resident who intended to use money from his short-term rental to supplement his mortgage payment. However, his rental was not finished before the moratorium started, so he wasn’t able to obtain a short-term rental license. 

For more information and to participate in the short-term rental regulation survey, visit, and click on “View Project” under “STR Regulations Update.” 

The county has already received 1,300 responses from the short-term rental survey, according to Jessica Potter, Summit County senior planner.

The next short-term rental event will be a remote meeting held on Monday, Aug. 1, where the planning commission will review public input from the open houses. The public may listen in, and Potter said the meeting may open for public comment.

The link can be found by visiting the Summit County government website’s calendar under Aug. 1.

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