Letter to the editor: Move beyond emotional arguments on short-term rentals

Thomas Castrigno

Summit County has among the highest number of short-term rental listings in the state. The question on the table is, does that number truly serve the community?

To arrive at a meaningful answer, we need to move beyond the all-or-nothing scarcity thinking that any limitation is bad and that more is always better.

Information is power. In much the same way that information was gathered about the needs for workforce housing, I’d like to know what study has been done to determine countywide actual needs for short-term housing?

If we consider the current capacity of the whole county in terms of the number of restaurant seats, amount of retail space, number of massage tables, bike shops, etc., what volume of customer base can be effectively handled? From there, how many short-term pillows (taking into account all lodging) make sense for the county? Again, a higher view in terms of the entire county is needed.

With objective information like this, conversations about limiting permit numbers, clustering short-term rentals in zones and assessing those rentals operating as lodging businesses at commercial property tax rates can move beyond emotional arguments toward productive discussions and positive solutions.

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