Letter to the editor: Town Council has not demonstrated leadership on housing
Colorado Springs and Breckenridge
Short-term rental owners are being cast as perpetrators of a crime against the town. They have rented their units — generating over $140 million in revenue, yielding $8 million in taxes annually — and now they have undermined the soul Breckenridge.
The town wants to protect the “quality of life and the fabric of our community.” Does it mean more long-term rentals, increased workforce, fewer tourists, reasonable housing prices, disrupted neighborhoods, trash, noise, vacant homes or just too many short-term rentals?
At the Aug. 24 Breckenridge Town Council meeting, not a single council member provided any quantitative analysis that the proposed cap would have the desired effect. No professional economical/tourist-based study has been conducted. The town made no effort to contact short-term rental owners or seek input on this very important issue, giving the appearance they didn’t want to act in an open and transparent manner.
The number of short-term rental licenses issued has gone up 3% from 2018, whereas revenue/visitor nights are up over 42%. This lack of correlation between the sharp rise in visitors isn’t supported by a relatively flat increase in short-term rental licenses. Combine this with the inverse relationship in short-term rental complaints from 2020-21, dropping by 48%.
Why are there 1,469 exemptions? Does having a front desk/phone qualify a property for exemption? The large exempt hotels/timeshares have 91% occupancy and a much higher volume of tourists. Condo units along 4 O’Clock Road have about a 50% utilization rate so a lower impact.
The Town Council has not demonstrated leadership on this subject. Allowing construction of timeshares, hotels and building a $48 million parking structure bring in more tourists. Couldn’t this money have been used to build a housing complex for workforce? Why not partner with short-term rental owners for a comprehensive solution?
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