Summit County discusses impact of short-term rental with local industry group

Short term rental properties in the Village of Copper Mountain Resort are pictured Friday, August 13, 2021. These units are within the county’s “resort zone” which means there is no limit to how much they can be rented.
Ashley Low / For Daily Summit News

How should Summit County handle the growth in short-term rentals? That’s the million-dollar question county government officials and the four cities have been asking for about a year and a half as the industry continues to grow.

Over the past year, the county has implemented two moratoriums on specific short-term rentals — the most recent of which took effect in late May regarding rentals in neighborhood areas — as it continues to work out how slow license growth.

As it is, there is a local group advocating for the positive impact that short-term rentals have on the community. Called Summit Alliance of Vacation Rental Managers, the group worked with the county last fall on the county’s new pilot program that converted vacation rentals into long-term housing for residents.

Most recently, the group returned to meet with the county at a Summit Board of County Commissioners business meeting on Tuesday, July 19. The group’s executive director, Julie Koster, told commissioners she wanted the alliance to be seen as a “resource” as it continues to deal with the impacts of short-term rentals.

Koster kicked off the presentation by reporting data that shows the magnitude of the industry’s impact on the local economy. She also noted that all members of the alliance were trying to help with the county’s housing shortage.

“Peace of mind comes from everyone trying. They are trying to do something,” she said. “Some of our members have actually bought houses in order to provide this housing, … while others have provided rent subsidy to their employees to help offset the costs.”

During the presentation, Koster acknowledged that the local real estate market is hot and has been for some time, but noted that Summit County is not the only community experiencing this trend.

In early May, county commissioners were surprised to learn that some of the measures they put in place last year to curb the growth of short-term rentals had not had the effect they wanted. According to previous reports from Summit Daily News, in the second half of 2020, approximately 29% of sales resulted in a license. In the second half of 2021, this conversation rate increased to 39%.

During his presentation, Koster showed data that could explain why average home prices continue to rise. The data she presented was collected from the Summit Association of Realtors.

“What we found is that the difference really isn’t that big,” Koster said of the impact of short-term rentals on the real estate market. “That ends up being a 3.9% increase in value for properties that have a vacation rental license, so it’s really, really small – just 4%. The most important elements that have an impact are location and size. »

Koster’s presentation ended with some recommendations. One was for the county to provide more opportunities for public input as it drafts new short-term rental regulations.

The county is currently doing just that. He has scheduled a total of four open houses for the public to weigh in on vacation rental issues, two of which will take place next week. One will be from 5:30-7:00 p.m. Tuesday, July 26 at the Summit County Courthouse in the Summit Board of County Commissioners Meeting Room, 208 E. Lincoln Ave. in Breckenridge, and the other will take place from 5:30 p.m. -7 p.m. Wednesday, July 27, at Dillon Town Hall in the council chambers at 275 Lake Dillon Drive in Dillon.

Koster also suggested the alliance could help the county generate funds for workforce housing.

“We saw that last year there were 1.4 million nights booked in Summit County, and that’s across all cities and all of that,” Koster said. “It’s been a lot of nights. If we were to charge a dollar per reservation from each of these tenants and then put it into this fund for the county to build housing, that would have a huge impact.

Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence said she’s supportive of the idea, but it’s not just money that makes it difficult to build more affordable housing. Lawrence cited the problems with securing water and sewage for the Lake Hill labor project as a prime example. The City of Frisco does not have enough water rights to meet the demand for the proposed workforce housing project, according to a study by Hendrix Wai Engineering Inc.

In general, all alliance members have agreed that they would like to help the county find a solution, and they plan to stay involved in the public process as the county comes up with new measures.

“It’s an economic equation that we all have to solve, and it’s not easy,” said Toby Babich, owner of Breckenridge Resort Managers and board member of the Summit Alliance of Vacation Rental Managers.

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