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
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.
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.
Comm. Pogue motioned:
All motions pass unanimously.