Snowmass officials moving forward with development of short-term rental permit proposal

Council offers suggestions on data collection, regulation at latest update

A vehicle from Sky Run vacation rentals is parked outside of a condo complex in Snowmass Village on Tuesday, March 8, 2022. (Kelsey Brunner/Snowmass Sun)

Snowmass Village town officials are moving forward with the development of a short-term rental permit system with a goal of implementing the system by this fall, according to an update at a March 7 Town Council meeting.

The agenda summary for the discussion includes a proposal to collect unit details like the owner’s name and address of the unit and the “name and contact information for the designated owner representative that can be contacted 24/7/365” as well as the number of bedrooms, beds and parking spaces available.

Also included in that proposal: “a letter from all applicable (homeowner’s associations) approving the unit to be rented on a short term basis” and “a list of how the unit is advertised,” including information like an Airbnb or VRBO listing number. Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk said in the meeting that it would be helpful to include a link to the listing.

“There’s a lot of detail to come,” Town Manager Clint Kinney said. The discussion on March 7 was an opportunity for council to provide direction on other data they’d like to see collected in the permit process and on potential regulation they would like to see accompany the permit process.

Councilman Tom Fridstein suggested that the process should also request short-term rental owners to specify their intentions and how often they intend to rent the unit as a way of distinguishing between homeowners looking to rent out their residence a few weeks a year for a bit of extra income and homeowners looking to operate the unit as a full-fledged short-term rental business. Shenk likewise said she sees a difference between units rented short-term every so often and units rented all the time as vacation rentals.

Councilman Bob Sirkus said there should also be a distinction between multifamily properties (especially those with a “front desk” that have historically operated as short-term rentals) and single-family homes.

Frisdstein also suggested a limit on how many nights per year a unit can be rented on the short-term market.

Councilman Tom Goode said that there should be an additional fee imposed as part of the permit process to support workforce housing.

Formal discussions about possible action and regulation of short-term rentals in Snowmass Village began in January, but the ball started rolling with conversations about the industry’s role and impact on the town last fall.

In February, the council gave staff the thumbs up to start developing a new permit process that would help the town track and regulate the inventory of units rented out to visitors and to continue discussions about broadening the use of the lodging tax and marketing tax to support workforce housing.

A white sheet included in the Feb. 7 council packet stated that the process had the potential to “help with equitable sales/lodging tax collection” and add clarity to the “vagaries and nuances” of the town’s land use code’s rules for single-family neighborhoods.

Since then, town staff have been in discussion with representatives from the short-term rental booking sites VRBO and Airbnb as well as the town’s current license vendor “to ensure that the logistics of (the) process can function as well,” this week’s agenda summary states.

Once officials agree on a draft framework, staff will seek feedback from stakeholders and incorporate “constructive suggestions,” the agenda summary states. Council will then review a formal policy and ordinance and consider it for adoption.