Snowmass Village to seek public input on short-term rental regulations
Feedback form will be online by Wednesday
To be clear, the Snowmass Village Town Council is not currently considering adopting an ordinance or enacting regulations on short-term rentals yet.
But the town does want feedback on some ideas about possible permit systems and restrictions, and it’s poised to get quite a bit of it if the turnout at a Monday council meeting was any indication. One dozen speakers weighed in on proposed permit requirements that the council was slated to review before the town launches a public outreach effort.
The requirements mostly focus on collecting general information (like an owner’s name and a unit’s number of bedrooms) and life-safety requirements for smoke detectors and fire alarms.
From the get-go, public input has been in resounding favor of collecting data to track short-term rentals and of implementing safety requirements. Likewise for members of the Town Council.
But the proposal also includes two particularly prickly sticking points: a 56-night limit on the number of rentals in single-family homes and an occupancy limit on any short-term rental of two people per bedroom, plus four extra people.
Proposed Information-Gathering Requirements
• Owner’s name
• Address of the unit
• Letter from all applicable homeowners associations approving the unit to be rented on a short-term basis
• Name and contact information for the designated owner representative who can be contacted 24/7/365
• A list of how the unit is advertised, including AirBnB and VRBO numbers and other identifying information
• Number of bedrooms and beds in the unit
• Number of parking spaces available
• An affidavit attesting that the accommodations have working carbon monoxide and smoke detectors that have been tested and function properly
Proposed Restrictions and Limitations
• No single-family home may be rented on a short-term basis for more than 56 total nights in a calendar year. Any HOA would be provided an option to exempt their home from this regulation so that the regulations could be more flexible.
• The maximum occupancy of any unit would be restricted to two people per legal bedroom plus four additional people. Rental insurance will be required of the property owner.
• A penalty fee schedule for violations will be developed so that a permit will be revoked if regulations are violated.
Source: Town of Snowmass Village. Requirements have been edited slightly for length and clarity.
“Those are going to be the hot-button topics,” Mayor Bill Madsen said toward the end of the discussion.
Of the dozen people who spoke at the council meeting, more than half expressed concern or outright opposition about the idea of either occupancy or rental limits or both.
Several more had questions about how those restrictions would be enforced, and some noted noise issues might be better addressed with enforcement of noise ordinances than with restrictions on short-term rentals.
(Noise, traffic and trash impacts have been among the concerns that some residents have raised about short-term rentals during Town Council discussions so far.)
“I do not think that anybody here, on behalf of the residents, has any sort of opposition (to) making sure that homes are safe or that safety comes first,” said David Filler, who owns a residence on Ridge Road. “It’s more about the restrictions on the number of use nights, the restrictions on the number of people staying in a house and how that thought process really achieves any real goal.”
Cecily Deangelo, who lives on North Ridge Lane, said she has seen the noise and traffic impacts of short-term rentals in her neighborhood but that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for those impacts in a town that is both a resort and a community. She suggested one possible solution would be to let homeowners associations opt in to short-term rental regulations.
“I think that Snowmass is highly, highly unique,” Deangelo said. “And I don’t believe that one solution fits all of Snowmass, and this is really, really hard. … I believe that there are some tools you can hand to the residents in order to allow them to make decisions about their neighborhoods.”
Several of the speakers also emphasized the need to collect and analyze quantifiable data on short-term rental use and impacts before implementing restrictions.
Madsen said getting public feedback on these proposed permit requirements is part of the process, and that a permit system in and of itself could help provide town officials with the data they need to make a decision on any restrictions.
“I think that’s what we need to hear from people. If we’re going to limit the amount of nights that people are allowed to rent their homes, we better have some really good data behind it, and to do that, I think we need to start with a permit process,” Madsen said. “We’re not going to know what we’re regulating until we have some sort of dipstick.”
But data is only part of the equation, Town Manager Clint Kinney noted during the meeting.
“This is a truly, I would say, value-laden kind of discussion, and, you know it’s a value-laden, difficult political discussion when you can know all the facts, and you can legitimately disagree on the outcome, and that’s what you’re facing, and it’s difficult,” Kinney said.
A public feedback form will be online by Wednesday, Kinney said after the meeting. There was a form posted earlier, but town staff will update it to collect more specific feedback on the proposed restrictions as well as the overall permit concept, according to Kinney.
The deadline to submit feedback is July 31.
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