Summit County BOCC 2nd Reading of STR Ordinance Feb 15, 2023

February 16, 2023

Summit County Board of County Commissioners | February 15, 2023

Commissioners: Comm. Lawrence, Comm. Pogue, and Comm. Blanchard were all present for the entire hearing.

Summary: Today the Summit County Board of County Commissioners met to discuss two short term rental regulation ordnances on second reading. At the end of the five+ hour hearing, both ordinances PLN22-060 and PLN22-061 passed unanimously as did an amendment to increase the STR booking cap from 30 to 35 annually. The Commissioners heard from more than 50 witnesses, with the majority speaking in opposition or asking for amendments, and a handful in support of more stringent regulations. The BOCC clearly signaled support for creation of a new Type III STR license, which they plan to start exploring shortly. They also plan to debate the potential rezoning of the Peak 7 neighborhood in the near future.

PLN22-060 |STR Ordinance Second Reading

PLN22-061 |STR Code Amendment  

Opening Statements:

Summit County staff, Jess Potter, gave a presentation to the board on both ordinances PLN22-060 and PLN22-061. Ms. Potter began the presentation by distinguishing the differences between the Resort Overlay Zones (ROZ) which include Keystone, Copper Mountain, Tiger Run Resort, and unincorporated areas at the base of Peak 8 in Breckenridge, and Neighborhood Overlay Zone (NOZ), which encompass all other properties in unincorporated Summit County that are not in the ROZ. Ms. Potter clarifies in her presentation that only STRs within the NOZ would be affected by the two proposed ordinances with STRs within the ROZ remaining unaffected. Furthermore, Ms. Potter shared data stating that 63% of STRs are within the ROZ, a majority of which are in Keystone, Copper, and Upper Blue.  

Ms. Potter then presented the externalities of STRs recognizing the value STRS provide to the Summit County economy, however, despite being economically beneficial have caused conflict within the NOZ. Ms. Potter cites data stating that STR complaints are filed disproportionately within the NOZ accounting for 86% of complaints despite comprising only 37% of all STRs. Of STR complaints within the NOZ 86% are noise related, which according to Ms. Potter are difficult to enforce for numerous reasons.  

The presentation continued with Ms. Potter revisiting the goals set forth by the BOCC as they pertain to STRs. The goals include 1. Local Workforce Housing: Maintain the housing stock that exists for locals; develop regulations that prioritize and preserve long-term rentals and locally owned housing units, 2. Neighborhood Character: Create long-lasting STR regulations that preserve the historic, long-term residential character of Summit County’s neighborhoods and recognize the differing nature of the resort areas, 3. Reduce Conflicts: Identify areas where STRs conflict with the primary residential uses established in the traditional neighborhoods and adopt regulations that reduce impacts and mitigate changes due to STRs, 4. Balance: Summit County is a community with abundant resort amenities, and long-standing local neighborhoods, and is a desirable place for second homeowners; regain the balance between residents, non-STR second homes, and STRs, and 5. Clear Regulations: Adopt regulations that are straightforward, easy to understand, and easily enforceable.

Following, Ms. Potter gave a timeline of Summit County Unincorporated STR regulations. Detailing that in 2018 Summit County began issuing simple permitting, in 2021 implemented overlay zones and license types (ranging from 1-3), and in 2023 now seeks to cap not only STR licenses but also the booking amount per year of STRs in NOZs, and consolidate Type 2 and Type licenses into a single Type 2 license. The presentation cites similar programs implemented in Breckenridge, Silverthorne, Frisco, Dillon, and Steamboat. On May 24, 2022, a Moratorium was placed on STR licensing as the BOCC examined the conflict between STRs and the community seeking to find solutions.  

Ms. Potter shares PLN22-060 and would seek to resolve STR and community conflicts by establishing a stronger cap on NOZ – STR caps. The new caps would move from 11-15% in Lower Blue, remain at 5% for Snake River, remain at 6% for Ten Mile, and increase in Upper Blue from 12.5-18% with a total increase of 3% on the STR cap.  The caps would be achieved through attrition as properties sell. Ms. Potter reassures that all current STR license holders will be able to fulfill their current license agreement. Furthermore, Ms. Potter details that upon relicensing, however, all current Type 1 licenses will be converted to Type 2 licenses if the STR does not meet the new requirement for a Type 1 license.

To qualify for a Type 1 license an applicant must either reside in Summit County for a minimum of 9 months of the year, have retired from the Summit County workforce, or is the renter of an ADU property and meet at least one of the former criteria.  An applicant must work a minimum of 30 hours per week to be classified as working in Summit County. The ordinance would restrict the partial rental of Type 1 qualified applicants to 50% of the bedrooms within their home up to 2 bedrooms. Furthermore, for a Type 1 license under the proposed ordinance a “Teacher Scenario” would be established for qualified applicants which could be approved following a review of STR rental records. To qualify as a retiree from Summit County an individual must be of age to claim Social Security and has a history of working at least 30 hours per week over 10 years for the county. Partial retirees qualifying for a type 1 license according to Ms. Potter, include individuals who reduce employment to 15 hours a week for the county but have worked 30 or more hours on an annual basis for at least 15 continuous years before early retirement. The purpose for these exceptions according to Ms. Potter is to incentivize a greater presence of individuals living in the community versus being year around STR rentals.  

Those not qualifying for a Type 1 license according to Ms. Potter will either qualify for a lottery or waitlist for a Type 2 STR license. The decision of whether to have a lottery or waitlist is yet to be determined according to Ms. Potter, but a decision will be made once within the 10% range of the cap.  

Ms. Potter then presented that the Type 2 and Type 3 licenses will be consolidated into a single Type 2 license if the ordinance is passed. Ms. Potter elaborated on how the new Type 2 license would replace the current 135-night limitation on STRs to a limit of 30 overall bookings. Ms. Potter shares this new standard was reached by evaluating the average number of nights an STR was rented in the NOZ which ranged from 95-150, and then was compared to the average length per booking which was averaged to be 3.6 days. Therefore, the rationale of the decision according to Ms. Potter was that by establishing a booking cap of 30 with an average of 3.6 days STRs can expect to rent an average of 108 nights.  Furthermore, the new Type 2 license would move the timeline for compliance for such licenses from 2025 to 2023.  

Ms. Potter then discussed the effects the proposed resolution would have on Bed and Breakfasts (B&B) which were put under moratorium in Dec. of 2021. Ms. Potter elaborates that the biggest change would of the proposal be to end the moratorium on B&Bs and to require all new B&Bs to have been STR for a minimum of 1 year prior.

Moreover, in her presentation, Ms. Potter then discussed the ordinance's proposed effect on STR well water utilization. Ms. Potter had two emphases’ regarding this topic. The first being all well water usage must be registered, most notably hot tubs. According to MS. Potter, all STR owners will have until 2023 to reach this requirement despite already approved licenses being told they had until 2025.  

Comm. Lawrence then asked Ms. Potter if such standards were unique to the county as she was under the impression such standards were implemented by the state. Ms. Potter confirmed the standards regarding well registration are compliant with the state and that the county is not exerting any further requirements regarding well water usage registration.  

Lastly as regards PLN22-060 Ms. Potter elaborated how the proposal and how there would be annual reporting on the enforcement and number of STRs approved in each basin in addition to a biannual forum for a more in-depth review of STRs.

Ordinance PLN22-061 according to Ms. Potter implements 3 changes to STRs. First, definitions of Short-Term Rental and Short-Term Vacation rental (STR and STRV) will be consolidated in the Land Use and Development Code. Second, “guests” have been replaced with “renters” in the STR ordinance to clarify that guests of the property owner, where no consideration is exchanged, do not constitute a booking. And finally, a definition of Booking is added to the Ordinance: Booking means an agreement to rent a unit for less than 30 days for an exchange of consideration. Ms. Potter states that the purpose of this ordinance is to help BOCC achieve its goal of establishing clear and straightforward regulations.

  • Comm. Lawrence comments following the presentation that she still feels there is a need for type III licenses, and that once passed the BOCC should look at ways of reestablishing the Type 3 license.  
  • Comm. Pogue followed by stating she agrees with Elisabeth on the value of Type 3 licenses.
  • Comm. Blanchard similarly agreed stating that they will not need to start from scratch but rather can adjust the previous Type 3 licenses.  

Citizen Comment

Summary: The majority of those who testified did so in opposition to the ordinances with PLN22-060 drawing the most attention. Those testifying in opposition focused on property rights, the changing of the compliance deadline from Sept. 2025 to Sept. 2023, and the effect the ordinances will have on the economy. Those testifying in favor of the ordinances argued that STRs take away from workforce housing and are disruptive to neighborhoods.

At one point during the witness testimony, Comm Lawrence sought to clarify that the ordinances would not establish a booking cap or licensing cap on STRs within the ROZ. An outburst followed from someone in the crowd stating that was not true. A back and forth ensued between Comm. Lawrence and the individual in attendance until Summit County Attorney Huntley asked for tensions to cool and a debate not to ensue.

In favor:

  • Gary Press – Believes STR renters do not respect the locals claiming he continuously has to make noise complaints.
  • Becky Bowers -Expressed her support for the bill as she believes STRs prevent people from establishing neighbors and a community citing her own experiences.
  • Rich Mason – Believes the ordinance is worth trying however, wishes there were greater allowance for the number of booking days.
  • Tom Becket – Believes that turning residential properties to STRs is wrong and agrees with limiting the expansion of STRs in the community.
  • Jimmy Scott – Detailed how the moratorium allowed himself to remain in his current homes as otherwise his landlord was looking to convert his LTR into a STR.
  • Greg Lynch – Expressed that he believes the board is on the right track and that these ordinances are beneficial to the community as a whole.  
  • Greta Shackelford – Detailed her belief that STRs make neighborhoods worse not better.
  • Julia Strausbousky – Advocated that the reason why the majority of the people testifying are against the ordinance is because the people who actually live in the community are working to afford housing.
  • Carol Christensen – Despite not agreeing with the ordinances completely expressed how she believes they are good compromises.
  • Jim Bradley – Supports the ordinances as he believes STRs ruin communities.  


  • Deshaun Lets – Believes that with a potential recession looming that the commission is moving too fast. Additionally advocated for maintaining a Type 3 license.  
  • Kate Marrone – Stated that the commission is taking away rights versus coming up with a better mode of enforcement.
  • Cornelius Milmoe – Expressed concern the ordinances will have on the communities economy advocating the board to slow down.
  • Kristine Lee – Detailed how her home is almost fully constructed and that it is hers to do with what she wills, and that these ordinances go against her rights.
  • Tammy [Last name not specified] – Is concerned that the data into account for STR caps is based off COVID numbers and is not in anticipation of an upcoming recession. She is especially worried as she relies heavily on her rental for her retirement income.
  • Julia Koster – Advocated for increasing or abandoning the booking cap, and creating a new Type III license. She pointed out that the County has received a very small number of complaints given the number of nights rented, and that setting too low of caps in the basins and a cap on the number of bookings will impact the economy. She was representing the Summit Association of Vacation Rental Managers.
  • Seth Larson – Stated that these new ordinances make booking more complicated and urges the board to keep their 2025 compliance deadline.
  • Beth Fernish – Encouraged the board to raise the booking cap from 30 to 50 reservations and wishes for the grandfathering of all current licenses.
  • Mike McMillen – Is a condo owner and believes STR’s draw a nicer crowd versus that of Long-Term rentals (LTR)
  • Sue Johnson – Questions the validity of distinguishing complaints from STRs and LTRs and expresses how it feels unfair that the ordinances are targeting STRs.
  • Kathy Noon – Expressed her belief that the uncertainty of the future regarding STRs has dramatically effected and prohibited her ability to sell her house which draws in value for its potential to be a STR.
  • Ashley Kubiszyn – Believes that by establishing a booking cap of 30 for STRs the BOCC is going to set a limit that is lower than the 135 nights they were previously planning to implement. She asked that the limit on bookings be raised to 38.  
  • Amy Naecos – Expressed that the policies being proposed are promulgating downward pressure on the housing market.  
  • Patricia Yeager – Questions why the board would potentially limit the economic growth of the community.
  • Joh McCray – Believes that the exceptions given for Type 1 licenses are discriminatory.
  • Debbie Nelson – Argued that it is the responsibility of the renters to book adequate people, and the board to enforce the rules, and that the ordinances are an unfair burden.
  • Kevin Palatier – Advocated against booking and licensing caps questioning quantitative reasoning.  
  • Vivi Gloria – Expressed the difficulties that will ensue regarding her ability to pay her mortgage if the ordinances are passed.
  • Mardi Jensen – Reiterated the necessity for the board to slow down on its regulations.
  • Steve Thompson – Believes the cap prohibits people from coming to the community where some eventually because of their visit would decide to make Summit County their home.  
  • Tyson Horner – Expressed the desire to maintain Type licenses and that by setting a booking cap STRs will become seasonal transferring what is currently year around jobs for services such house keeping to seasonal as well.  
  • Misty McNillan – Shared how she book her STR for on average 235-260 nights a year and wishes to be grandfathered into her current licensing agreement.
  • Karen Mathis – Believes the ordinances are discriminatory and would drastically hurt the counties economy.
  • Juanita Evens – Advocated against the booking cap.
  • Mike Atkinson – Expressed how their STR is a crucial part of their income and their desire for the board to slow down regulation and to be more flexible.
  • Wendy Blassumgang – Recounted how she originally came to Summit County as a “ski bum” to an STR and is now concerned the proposed ordinances would prevent people from potentially moving and experiencing the communities.
  • John Roe – Argued his belief that the proposed ordinances are going to hurt tourism and that enforcement not restriction is the answer to the community problems.  
  • Dave Ganderton – Expressed how a booking cap on top of a licensing cap is unnecessary.
  • Trent Heisler – Believes STR and booking caps would hurt the economy of the county.
  • Leah Ladassie – Understands the necessity for well permits but is very concerned about meeting compliance by the Sept. 2023 deadline verses the 2025 deadline she originally agreed to.
  • Todd Rowell – Believes the ordinances would hurt “limited income” people from being able to come to the community.  
  • Megan Richmond – Believes that the policy proposals are not equitable and limit accessibility to a large group of people outside of the community.
  • Tommy Jefferies – Believes the ordinances would create further regulatory burdens and that these burdens would be discriminatory.  
  • David Agren – Expressed their frustration at the continued regulation following a similar agreement to compromise in 2021.
  • Ellie Wilson – Believes the information used to justify the ordinances are inaccurate and will have a dramatic effect on the economy.  
  • Taryn Brooke – Wishes for more updated data following 2021 before making further regulations.
  • Alice Macenas – Believes a booking limit will turn jobs such as house keepers from permanent to seasonal positions.  

Closing Comments:

  • Comm. Blanchard reminded the room that bookings for greater than 30 days are not considered STRs and that personal use of your STR to family and friends will not be considered a booking so long as a monetary transaction does not take place. Comm. Blanchard further discussed how they came about the booking cap stating that it was originally proposed at 26 days, rose to 30 throughout the process, and after hearing testimony today is open to the idea of increasing it further.  
  • Comm. Pogue and Comm Lawrence stated they agree with expanding the booking cap to 35, but still wish to establish ways of preventing year around bookings of STRs.
  • Attorney Huntley added that they would be able to amend the ordinance to expand the booking cap to 35 through a motion.  
  • Comm. Blanchard then addressed that people are saying their concerns are not being heard. He details how the staff and Commissioners have spoken with numerous stakeholders throughout this process, and that though despite not being able to please everyone he and the board are trying to find an effective and fair compromise.  Further stating that he believes expanding the booking cap as many times as they have is one example of how they are listing, as well as making adjustments to the title transfer provision.  
  • Comm. Blanchard further discusses how prior to COVID the housing market was in a” frenzy”, and how he believes the market is changing and recalibrating and how they need to do what is best for the community.  
  • Comm Lawrence, Comm. Blanchard, and Comm. Pogue then reiterated their willingness to reestablish Type 3 licenses with Comm. Blanchard expressing how this is another example of how they are listening to the community.
  • Comm. Pogue finishes the comments by stating “We are in a difficult place because we have heard both sides of STR. But the question is how much tourism is too much and I think we are there. We need to have housing for employees. The regulations that we contemplated are designed to help the traditional workforce who is here every day to support your STRs. “

Comm. Pogue motioned:

  • For the amendment to expand the booking cap from 30 to 35 annually
  • And for the passage of both PLN22-060 and PLN22-061

All motions pass unanimously.