Jan 18, 2023
The Dillon Town Council expressed support for upping the town’s short-term rental fee while ditching a fee for units that lack sufficient parking during its meeting Tuesday, Jan. 17.
When asked by Mayor Carolyn Skowyra during the council’s work session at Town Hall, council members expressed a consensus that the $250 annual fee for a short-term rental license should be increased to $700.
Town accountant Matt Farley explained that the increased license fee will help cover the town’s costs associated with short-term rentals, including staff time and software expenses.
Skowyra questioned whether the change puts “a little more on the smaller places that are being rented,” than on property owners renting out larger units.
“Someone who is renting a studio or one bedroom is paying the same rate as a three-bedroom but the people in the three-bedroom have a greater impact on the parking availability and resources in town,” she said.
But finance director Carri McDonnell said, from the staff’s perspective, the size of the unit doesn’t make a difference, since all short-term rentals require the same staff time and resources, no matter the size.
“In our opinion as staff, we don’t feel there is a difference in a one-bedroom, a two-bedroom or a four-bedroom in the way we administer the license,” McDonnell said. “We’re recovering our costs, so how much (the property owners) make doesn’t play into that.”
Council members also agreed they should nix the current short-term rental regulationrelated to parking. That regulation requires owners of short-term rentals to provide parking spots at a rate of one space per bedroom plus one additional space, or pay an additional $300 per insufficient space on top of the license fee.
Under the existing regulation, property owners also have the option to reduce the maximum capacity of their short-term rental — which Dillon regulations set at two plus two per bedroom — rather than pay the additional $300 fee for insufficient parking.
A surprising number of short-term rental owners elected to reduce their maximum capacity rather than pay the parking fee, Farley said. He also noted that most — but not all — short-term rental units paid a parking fee, with a majority paying a total of $850 and some three-bedroom units paying as much as $1,200 in parking.
However, the recent implementation of paid overnight parking in town means the additional charge for insufficient parking spots is no longer necessary, Farley said, since short-term renters can park overnight in town lots. He said the town currently has 345 short-term rental units.
Council member Tony Scalise questioned whether the increase in the license fee might spur a negative reaction from some residents.
“My fear is that they’re going to see that $700 and freak out not realizing they’re not going to be paying $300 to $900 in parking,” Scalise said.
But council member Dana Christiansen disagreed, noting that Dillon is one of the few towns in Summit County that hasn’t capped the amount of short-term rental licenses available in town.
“We’re probably the most lenient for short-term rentals,” Christiansen said. “So that is where I would push back on people that complain about that. We’re not capping. We’re not doing all this other stuff.”
Council member Renee Imamura made two suggestions that didn’t garner much support from the council.
Imamura suggested that the town increase the maximum capacity of short-term rentals to two people per bedroom plus four, at least for larger one-bedroom units that can accommodate that many people.
She also suggested the council members make some kind of statement expressing they have no interest in creating a cap on the number of short-term rentals allowed in town.
But Skowyra said the council hasn’t had a thorough enough conversation about short-term rental caps to make such a statement.
“We may come to a point where we do want to cap it,” she said. “So then we’d have to eat our words.”