Letter to the Editor: Short-term rental regulations by the county will have consequences | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the Editor: Short-term rental regulations by the county will have consequences

Julie Koster

In the ever-changing landscape of short-term rental regulations in Summit County, the Summit Board of County Commissioners pivoted away from a limit to the total number of short-term rental nights per year and replacing that restriction with a maximum number of reservations per year — a concept inspired by a Palm Springs ordinance.

In Palm Springs, the max reservations allowed per year is 26. This allows, on average, one booking per week during their peak season. Palm Springs is generally in peak tourism operations for 5 months per year. During many of the other seven months, it is said one can fry an egg on the sidewalk.

Summit County however is a year-round destination with approximately 10 months per year of demand when you exclude mud season. The Commissioners took our seasonality into consideration and adjusted to 35 bookings per year, which reduces total reservations by nearly half or more in many cases.

What will this reservation restriction accomplish for Summit? For starters: a reduction in tourism, which also means a reduction in your hours at work. Locals who work in shops and restaurants, housekeeping or property maintenance will be hit where it matters most: their paychecks. Virtually every job in Summit County is linked to tourism, even if that link is not immediately obvious.

This reduction in reservations will not increase housing, affordability or create a stronger workforce. It will not provide economic benefit. If it won’t accomplish any of these key objectives, what is the true goal of this ordinance?

If the end goal is to have fewer short-term rentals in Summit County, we need to be prepared for there to be less of a lot of other things, too. It’s called the law of unintended consequences for a reason.

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