Summit County BOCC Meeting Recap 9-28-2021

September 28, 2021

Today the Summit County BOCC met during work session to discuss staff’s proposed Code Amendment strategies as it pertains to Short Term Rental Licenses. After a brief overview of the current STR trends and objectives, they dove into the proposal. Staff proposed two zoning overlay districts 1. Would include resort communities, 2. Would include traditional workforce neighborhoods. In combination with the evaluation or overlay zones they would implement a three type license model, Type I would be for primary residents with no cap on nights or overlay district, Type II would be for second homeowners with a cap on nights but no restrictions in overlay districts, Type III would be for investment properties for full time STR use with no restrictions in the resort overlay but with more restrictions and a limited amount in neighborhood zone. The commissioners discussed the nuances of this proposal and have schedule another hour and half next Tuesday to flush out the details. The Commissioners will be hosting a town hall on the topic on Oct. 7th at the Silverthorne Library. For the full staff proposal – please see the agenda packet here.


Agenda Packet & Proposal

Comm. Lawrence notes that this is just the first look and that it likely will not be final. She encourages public comment. They have scheduled a public meeting at the Silverthorne library on Oct. 7th in the evening.

Jessica Potter opens the conversation with the basis of the memo that was shared with the commissioners. The full proposal document is here (scroll passed the agenda.)

The moratorium went effect on midnight on the 17th. We’ve seen 364 new license applications since then and 182 were between the 14-17th most of these are outside of the resort areas. Comm. Lawrence comments that Tiger Run is a resort area and we made a policy recommendation that Tiger Run would be considered under the resort via the exemption request.

There have been 100 calls per day for each of the two staffers. This has been a huge topic. We’ve received 13 special exceptions, 9 have been approved and 1 we’ve requested more information on. We are currently processing the STR license conversion process and hope to be complete during mid-October. The software company has requested 8-10 weeks to implement portal updates for vendors.

Blanchard asks about the 364 applications – most of them had never been submitted before. Staff comments that the vendor software updates could be impacted by the code amendments too so they’d like to move quickly.

Comm. Pogue asked about 1031 exchanges and comments that the moratorium could be a hardship for this exchange. She also asks staff to look into reservations that have been on the books for the hardship exemption. Staff clarifies that the sale must be under contract, she shares that she thought we might consider further instances than just sale but the reservations moving forward because of sale after the moratorium etc. Ms. Potter shares that the hardship applications have largely been sale, she anticipates that some incoming ones could be sewage updates and construction timelines, some are for getting special exception for losing their license due to failure to renew in time etc. She shares how much staff time is required to review each exemption application. Comm. Pogue says that the point is to take a pause, the exemption is for folks that actually will have a hardship in the next 12 weeks, and they require the ability to apply before those 12 weeks are up.

Comm. Lawrence comments on prebookings, any of these could be cancelled at any time. Ms. Potter shares that this would open up the floodgate. Comm. Lawrence notes that if we open that door there isn’t a purpose to the STR moratorium. Staff chimes in that they will continue to monitor the exemption applications as they are now, and we can bring back the unique circumstances that we see next week.

Ms. Potter clarifies that code amendments and overlay districts are separate and apart from the incentive programs. We now want to call the zones, evaluation areas.

In terms of informing the new regulations, we looked at trends.

  • 2020 approvals: 65% resort / 35% neighborhoods; 2021 approvals 55% resort / 45% neighborhoods.
  • Total number of STR approvals increased 19% from 2020 to August 2021. To account for variations in number of active permits over the course of an entire year, a mean of all approvals for 2020 was used. As a comparison, new home construction increases approximately 1% a year.
  • Sales from Jan 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021 – 80% of market rate housing was purchased by non-locals based on mailing addresses.
  • Complaints from neighborhood areas (outside of Keystone and Copper) = 86% of complaints but are 38% of STRs.
  • The number of new home sales that resulted in an STR increased 21% from 1st half 2020 to 1st half 2021.
  • Cost of housing is at an all-time high in Summit County, the median price of a single-family home is $1.5 million, and the median price of a townhome/condo is $617,000.

We have a high volume of real estate transactions going on right now, the number of these that are applying for STR license are really substantial.

Comm. Pogue asks more about complaints – does it contain host compliance data or Sheriffs data? Ms. Potter said that these data are host compliance data but starting to meet with Sherriff. She asks if we can see which have property management vs not. They can bring this data back. Let’s get the same data points for host compliance and Sherriff. Staff shares the concern that the Sherriff won’t have that data, they only just were able to begin identifying STRs. Ms. Potter thinks the property management may skew towards resorts so we can remove the resort neighborhoods from that data.

Ms. Potter reads the objectives: In order to create a framework for new regulations, it is helpful to have stated goals and objectives. This work session is an opportunity to confirm or modify the relevance of the list below.

  • Local Workforce Housing – maintain the housing stock that exists for locals, do not lose any more LTR or local ownership housing to STRs;
  • Local-Friendly Regulations – do not make it harder for locals who STR their primary residence to help pay their mortgage;
  • Neighborhood Character – attempt to mitigate and/or protect the character of the traditional neighborhoods in Summit County from changing due to STR impacts;
  • Second Homeowners – be aware of the goals of second homeowners, they STR because they want flexibility in the use of their property but also experience the increased impacts from 365 day/year STRs in their neighborhoods;
  • Incentivize – regulations are necessary, but offer incentives where possible;
  • Balance – Summit County has always been a resort community; maintain property owners’ ability to STR but regain the balance between local residents, second-homes, and STRs;
  • Be Strategic – it is recommended that “surgical” is replaced with “strategic” as a framework for new regulations. Surgical implies that new regulations will be crafted specific to each neighborhood and subdivision; however, from both a staff, software, and user perspective, a less complex yet potentially more effective set of regulations is preferred.

Staff shares that all planning commission commissioners are supportive of this ongoing work and we’ve got an update on their agenda for October.

Comm. Lawrence appreciated the second homeowner perspective in this bullet point as they are a part of our community.

Proposal Details / Discussion

Ms. Potter shares the proposal – we landed on a combination of overlay zones and license types. There are two overlay zones – resort and neighborhood. They also proposed three different license type.

The resort zone would encompass Keystone, Copper, the unincorporated areas at the Base of Peak 8 in Breckenridge and likely Tiger Run Resort. (These are the same areas that were exempted from the moratorium, with the addition of Tiger Run.) The defining feature of the Resort Zone is that these areas were always intended for short-term vacation occupancy in a resort context. They have amenities and intense STR use is compatible in these zones.

The neighborhood overlay zone would encompass all other properties in unincorporated Summit County. The underlying characteristic of this zone is that these neighborhoods were not developed as resort neighborhoods, while it is true that there are some homes that were designed as STRs, the neighborhoods themselves were not developed to support intense, hotel-like STR use.

She gives an overview of Type I or primary residence STR, this would be unlimited nights because the impact on neighborhoods seem too negligible. Comm. Pogue comments that San Fran has a great example of how to determine primary residence. Staff comments that in the planning commission application we require primary residence and could mirror that language. This doesn’t include people who have voter registration elsewhere, drivers license address, etc before we look to San Francisco model. There are a lot of other places that are doing this. This is about 7% of the current licenses. They would be unlimited.

Type II license would be second homeowners, limiting the number of nights that can be offered for rent, 90 nights for example, they could offer longer term rentals for other portions of the year. These could be unlimited in both overlay districts, but the nights rented would be capped.

Type III are for outside investors who have high intensity STRs, these would be unlimited in resort overlay, but significantly limited in neighborhood zones. These are the properties with the most complaints etc. Comm. Pogue asks for the removal of inflammatory language like “severe” in our proposal.

Comm. Blanchard asks if there would be a situation where they could have 3 type I applications? No, we would track applicant data, you could have 5 type IIIs in resort overlay and some in neighborhood but only one primary residence or Type I. They said they would monitor all applications and coordination. He comments that this is about the impacts and stressors. If we talk about limiting type II were talking about limiting the number of nights.

Staff chimes in that Ms. Potter had a brilliant idea about type II, we believe with the current fees we aren’t recouping our expenses in the town. She suggested that in the type II second homeowner option, we can have a reduction in fees for type IIs that agree to long term rent for 3 months or more to local workforce specifically. The idea is to provide options for everyone both on the homeowner side and locals.

Comm. Lawrence comments on peak 7 and how the market has shifted, she’d like to ensure we define resort areas very thoughtfully to include peak 7 and peak 10 for example. She clarifies that type I makes her nervous in giving people loopholes. Type II she wants more public feedback on and Type III she’d like to understand if it is a cap? Ms. Potter shares that type II would work that in the neighborhood zone, where everyone can apply but it would be reviewed for a conditional use for a criterion that would be created as a type III? Type III could be reviewed in neighborhood zones; it would be established in these regulations for whether those type III are used in neighborhood zones. Comm. Lawrence talks to Tiger Run and other neighborhoods that are beautiful homes ripe for STRs. Staff notes that they already look at STR capacity etc and they don’t think conditional use properties will overwhelm because we only have 40 right now for the really large homes.

Comm. Pogue appreciates the three different types, depending on the neighborhood the balance of the three types can have different reactions. She encourages some intentionality with the use of these three types. She wants methodology with type III licenses so we can sustain and support our community. Similarly, we need to think about number of nights in type II license. She clarifies that all her comments pertain to outside of resort areas. She is concerned about the balance of these types in each neighborhood – wilderness vs Dillon valley for example, they are different, we need to treat them as such. Staff comments that we can look at limiting Type II if you want and Comm. Lawrence chimes in that we’d really like to make exemptions for increasing nights in certain neighborhoods for larger homes in more multi model neighborhoods. She asks if we are fining people for going over their 120 night max, what if they get a 5 night booking that puts them over the edge. Staff responds that the number just needs to be the number. Comm. Lawrence comments that she would like a buffer on single booking that would put them over the edge. Pogue shares that enforcement is the most challenging, Comm. Lawrence notes that other communities may have best practices here.

Comm. Lawrence likes the Type II and would put the cap on that for 120 nights. Comm. Blanchard asks about type III and questions how we know that the neighborhood has reached a saturation point for a specific neighborhood, would we cap it and then over attrition resubmit or come off the waitlist? He doesn’t need an answer now but wants to think through strategically regulating this. Staff chimes in that we would have minimum standards to even be able to apply, lot size for example, if its larger than an acre then the noise complaint may not be an issue. We would still then have criteria for their application. Noticing standards for the neighborhood, planning commission oversight where they vote via planning meeting. Comm. Blanchard asks that if the planning commission process might be more challenging how we move forward. Staff comments that we need to put this all in the regulations.

Staff comments that the other alternative which we discussed initially would be to include a third overlay zone for mixed license type areas where there are more STRs. Comm. Lawrence likes that better.

She asks how this proposal will create more workforce housing. Staff responds that type I would have no effect. Type II would allow a second homeowner their ability to use STR and limit the number of nights, there may be people who choose to long term rent as a result of the limitation. The type IIIs get to the community character aspect. Ms. Potter chimes in that the type III could actually encourage long term renting because the type III won’t be appropriate for every property. Comm. Blanchard comments that in combination with the LTR incentive this will match well. Comm. Lawrence would like to understand a mix that would be under these types in Dillon valley and wilderness for example. We’d have to use average night.

We’ve got another hour and half scheduled for next Tuesday, let’s table this for next week.

They open the floor to discuss the public meetings and what the format should be. Comm. Lawrence likes the idea of a QR code that links to a google survey that is open for four days or so for feedback collections. She doesn’t believe they have the questions yet, something about the three different types. Comm. Blanchard asks about incentive program and what the threshold is to really encourage use. They will discuss these questions and then encourage people to submit the survey. Comm. Pogue will follow-up with an email on the questions she’d like to include. Comm. Lawrence wants maps of the resort zones proposed and the evaluation zones with the # of STR in the defines areas. I do think the data on different neighborhoods would be helpful.

They discuss sticky note comment options. Comm. Lawrence prefers a short presentation and then small tables with each commissioner to speak to people directly. She comments that unincorporated summit county is more nuances than the blanket neighborhood zone. Should we have additional disclaimers or maps on the evaluation zones, Baldy for example.

Next week, they ask to dig in more on Type I (adding more legs to regulations) what regulations on type II and more nuance on Type III.