Q&A with Silverthorne Candidate: Zach Kauk

March 11, 2022


How long have you lived in the town you're campaigning in?

  • 2 to 4 years


What is your occupation?



What experience qualifies you for a town council position?

I managed growth businesses at Caterpillar during a 30 year career. This required addressing manufacturing infrastructure and supply chain in alignment with sales growth. I plan to use this experience to help develop an infrastructure plan for Silverthorne that is aligned with the growth that is planned and happening.


What changes would you like to see in Summit County? Your town?

Silverthorne and Summit County are growing fast. That's good and that's fun. However, investments in road infrastructure, affordable employee housing, affordable child care, and postal services have lagged. It is critical that we develop a comprehensive 10 to 20 year plan that addresses these issues in coordination with city, county, state, and federal governments.


What is your experience with vacation rentals?

I have owned a number of long term rentals and I've been a user of vacation rental services like VRBO and Airbnb. I've never been an owner of a vacation rental. However, as a home owner who may want to rent in the future, I believe the rights of homeowners to rent their homes should be protected. I do not believe that restrictions on short term rentals will help our affordable housing problem.


What impact do you feel the vacation rental industry has in Summit County? Your town?

Summit County is a resort destination. Silverthorne sales tax revenue per person is 4X Colorado average. We depend on visitors to support our way of life. Tourists would be unable to visit without our hotels and other short term rentals. I believe that we must support short term rentals. Our affordable housing issue can be addressed without harming the vacation rental industry.


How do you feel about the current taxes in place for vacation rentals? Do you think more should be added? Do you think any should be reduced?

I support the current proposal to increase vacation rental taxes. The reason I support this is that we need to divert these revenues into improving our infrastructure to support visitors - including investments in affordable housing, an improved Exit 205 for improved traffic flow, and improvements to traffic light and intersection management. Although I support the current tax change, I believe we need to be careful not to exceed the average tax levies in other resort areas within the state so that our vacation rental industry can remain competitive.


Do you believe we have a workforce housing problem in Summit County? And, if so: what are your suggestions to increase workforce housing?

Yes, we have an affordable housing issue for our workforce. Reducing short term rentals is not a solution since those properties (in general) are not the properties suitable for long term rentals. I believe we need to address zoning issues around accessory dwelling units and support more ADU's. We also need to identify low utilization properties and incentivize the building of higher density housing for long term rentals.


Are there any other key issues on your campaign platform that you would like to share with us?

My key priority is to address infrastructure issues while maintaining the property rights of existing homeowners and businesses. I also believe that we need to limit governmental regulation while we address our many issues.