Vacation rental operators in Snowmass Village express concern about possible limit on number of stays, days | AspenTimes.com
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Vacation rental operators in Snowmass Village express concern about possible limit on number of stays, days

Safety requirements, permit system continue to gain support with Town Council

Safety requirements and a permit system for short-term rentals were ideas that everyone could get behind at a Snowmass Village Town Council meeting on April 4.

A limit on the number of stays and number of days of short-term rentals per year? Not so much.

“What I heard tonight was a lot of support about having safety regulations and things like that. … Clearly, what’s contentious is the number of nights per unit, you know, for a year, and I think I understand why this is contentious and I don’t know what the right answer is,” Councilman Tom Fridstein said.



The idea of a limit emerged during ongoing discussions about short-term rental regulations at a March 21 council meeting. Town officials are currently developing a permit system that would help track and possibly regulate local vacation rentals.

The goal of possible regulation would not be to put the kibosh on the short-term market but rather to mitigate the impacts that some long-term residents have said they experience due to those short-term rentals. Traffic and noise have been cited as common concerns, and the residential character of single-family neighborhoods has also come up in past discussions.




Draft regulations in this week’s council packet are based on ideas from the March 21 council discussions and are not yet up for adoption. Based on those proposals, single-family homes would be limited to seven bookings per year, with a minimum stay of seven nights per booking and a maximum of 56 nights of bookings each year. Multifamily units in complexes without a front desk would be limited to one booking per seven-day period with no minimum number of nights, for a maximum of 52 rentals per year.

Homeowners associations would have an option to exempt their neighborhood from that rule and have more flexibility. Complexes with front desks where the units operate as “hot beds” would not be subject to any restrictions in days or stays.

More than half a dozen public commenters involved in the operation of vacation rental properties in Snowmass Village said Monday night that limiting the frequency and duration of short-term bookings would impact their ability to operate those rentals without losing money.

“I can tell you that should I be limited on the number of nights that I can rent my unit, I’ll be forced to sell,” said Kara Clark, who owns and operates a short-term rental in the Woodbridge condo complex.

She estimated her unit might sell for $1 million in the current market and believes it would “sit empty” rather than be used as a long-term rental or vacation rental with limited days. Given that the town is also considering how taxes from vacation rentals might support local workforce housing, Clark said the limits on days and stays could put a damper on potential revenue there.

“What you’re proposing now will limit the revenue that you can earn then, and I would just encourage you to think about that, because it will change — it will change a lot of people’s businesses in this town if you take away our ability to earn income,” Clark said.

Other commenters expressed concerns that the town is developing regulations based on anecdotal evidence that neighbors have cited rather than data on traffic counts, noise decibel levels or other numbers.

Cody Truscott, who operates a short-term rental in the Melton Ranch neighborhood and has been an active commenter in council meetings on the topic, encouraged town officials to begin with the permit system that can track rental units before moving to the next step of regulation.

“​We are asking that the council support the proposed permit systems so that any rules are coming from a place of knowledge and data rather than instinct,” Truscott said.

He also said that a limit on days and stays “is not a workable system for the more moderate accommodations like ours” and advocated for the development of a community advisory board who could provide input and ideas on mitigating impacts.

Councilman Bob Sirkus likewise suggested that the council “focus on the permitting, and the requirements of the permit, and see if we can finalize that” and “maybe take a step back a moment” on regulations. Councilman Tom Goode maintained Monday night that he still believes regulation on the number of days and stays should be up to homeowners’ associations, not the town.

Snowmass Village town officials are still in the development phase and have not adopted or enacted any regulations yet.

The focus now is on firming up proposed guidelines so the town can work on more formal outreach and feedback, Town Manager Clint Kinney said.

“What we’re hoping for is to get some kind of consensus from the council on what these regulations would look like so we can develop a webpage and get the word out, so people can really have a formal way of commenting and letting us know what works, what doesn’t work and give you guys an opportunity to get feedback,” Kinney said.

Members of the public can reach Town Council by emailing council@tosv.com. To make a comment part of the public record, copy Town Clerk Megan Boucher at mboucher@tosv.com.

kwilliams@aspentimes.com


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