Moratorium on the rental of vacation homes by steamboat, with some street exemptions, extended until January 31, 2022

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The condos surrounding Walton Creek Road, commonly referred to as “Condo Land”.
John F. Russell / Steamboat Pilot and Today

A moratorium on vacation home rental permit applications in Steamboat Springs has been extended until Jan.31, 2022, across much of the city, but several streets around Steamboat Resort are now exempt from the moratorium. Homeowners who wish to apply for permits on these streets can do so in five days.

Four of seven Steamboat Springs City Council members voted in favor of the ordinance on second reading Tuesday. Board member Sonja Macys left the discussion and members Heather Sloop and Kathi Meyer voted against first and second readings.

Steamboat City Planning Director Rebecca Bessey has proposed removing the streets from the moratorium due to their low density of full-time local residents. Bessey obtained this measurement by examining permanent addresses with data from the Routt County Assessor Office. Each of the proposed streets has a local population of less than 30%.



The moratorium only applies to vacation home rentals, which are a small subset of short-term rentals. The city code defines the rental of a vacation home as a single-family home or duplex used as an accommodation facility where the owner or other permanent resident does not reside in the unit. There are currently 213 active vacation home rental licenses in the city.

The Steamboat Springs Planning Commission is currently in the process of categorizing street groups and deciding whether short-term rentals should be permitted as of right, restricted or prohibited in these areas. Although the decision ultimately rests with city council, council members have asked the town planning commissioners for their recommendation.



Because the Planning Commission is still in the early stages of its process, Sloop said she was concerned about letting the commissioners make their own decisions without a message from the council that certain areas should be allowed as of right, which she believed. that excluding them from the moratorium would do.

“I feel like we’re kicking the Planning Board by saying, ‘Thank you for your work, but we’re going to change it before you even finish,’ Sloop said. feel like we are doing their job for them without allowing them to do their job.

Meyer said she believed some of the areas excluded from the moratorium were too wide, which is why she voted against the ordinance, despite her support for the overall extension of the moratorium.

“I think some of them are multiple neighborhoods, and that’s where I have a concern,” Meyer said.

Council member Lisel Petis said she understood the concerns of other Council members, but was confident that the areas excluded from the moratorium would ultimately be allowed by law due to their low local density and numbers. higher number of visitors.

“My thought process is that if we are convinced that these are unlikely to result in a ban on ORVs in this area, then I don’t see why they should be included,” said Petis. “We looked at the data, and it was clearly more touristy in the long run.”

Council member Robin Crossan said she disagreed with Sloop that the council vote sends the wrong message to the Planning Commission, as the commission process is done independently of the decisions of the Council. advice.

“I hope whatever decision we make, they’ll look at everything equally and fairly, and if they come back and say, ‘City Council, we don’t like the way you did, and that’s what we’re ‘proposing’, so we have to look at that, ”Crossan said. “No matter what direction you take, this will always allow the Planning Commission to do its job. “

Before voting, council heard from several residents who supported extending the moratorium to allow the Planning Commission and city staff to create policy without more vacation home rental permits “flooding” the city. .

“This has the benefit of helping to ensure the solution doesn’t get worse before it gets better,” said Mike Koponen, a resident of Bear Creek Drive. “It also gives city staff and city council more time to investigate additional policies from other mountain cities that have gotten serious about this.”

Kari Riegner, a Front Range resident who purchased a second home on Hilltop Parkway earlier in the year and began the vacation home rental permit application process but was unable to complete the application due to the moratorium, urged council members to provide an exemption for those in his situation.

“The current exception opens up such a small part of the moratorium and may simply allow those who have done so illegally to go ahead and submit their permits, rather than supporting us who have gone through the process and already completed. that first step, ”Riegner said.

The Planning Commission will continue its discussions on October 25.


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