In Snowmass Village, a different perspective on short-term rentals might be right next door
Neighbors share their take on the short-term rental landscape at Town Council meeting
Hotels and condo rentals make up the bulk of Snowmass Village’s short-term inventory. But there are several dozen private homes — many in residential neighborhoods — that are part of the nearly 1,700 units rented for less than 30 days at a time in Snowmass Village.
For some, a short-term rental can help offset the costs of homeownership in Snowmass Village; for others, that setup might offset the residential feel they sought out when finding a home in the town.
For both, it means a different take on short-term rentals might live right next door.
That was the case at a Jan. 3 Snowmass Village Town Council meeting when two neighbors on Lemond Place in the Melton Ranch subdivision shared very different perspectives on the role of short-term rentals in the town during public comment.
Gary Doehling and his wife, Olga, have lived in the subdivision for nearly a decade and have raised a family here, Gary Doehling told the council. The couple appreciates that their neighborhood is specifically zoned for single-family residences; there aren’t any condos or hotels in Melton Ranch.
But another house on the street is functioning as a short-term rental that often houses groups for shorter stays. The listing on VRBO says the home with four bedrooms and two extra sleeping areas can sleep as many as 14 people.
“This is not a neighborhood, this is a hotel,” Doehling said. “This is a business going on next to us that is accommodating our tourist guests, which is absolutely fine. We are both a community and a resort. We need to house our guests to make the place what we like, but do we house them in our single-family residential neighborhoods?”
Doehling said he recognizes the value of having accommodations for visitors to the town, but he’s not convinced that Melton Ranch is the place for it.
“This isn’t the neighborhood that I want and this isn’t the neighborhood that I bought into,” Doehling said.
It was, however, exactly the kind of neighborhood that the Truscotts bought into in the late 1960s, according to a statement from Al Truscott that his son Cody read during public comment at the town council meeting this week.
The Truscotts currently short-term rent a home — the very one Doehling expressed concerns about — in the Melton Ranch neighborhood on Lemond Place, which at the time was a more attainable neighborhood than the slopeside developments. For a family that wasn’t uber-wealthy, the ability to vacation in Snowmass Village was “at the very heart of the sales pitch all the way back in 1968,” Al Truscott wrote in his statement.
Al was still a teenager when his parents Harry and Ida Truscott purchased land and built a home on Oak Ridge Road, one ridge over from Lemond Place. Even then, short-term renting was promoted an option — there if needed — as a way for middle-class families to afford a home away from home in Snowmass Village..
“My family, now in its fourth generation, has continued to call Snowmass their spiritual home for over five decades,” he wrote. “But we would not be able to do that without the cushion the short term rentals provide. … I urge you to maintain and improve the vacation rental system which allows those of us who love this valley to continue to contribute to Snowmass and into the future.”
The family sold the Oak Ridge home in 2005 and moved over to Lemond Place, which they now rent to families and groups. They have rented the home on both a short-term and long-term basis and have occupied the house on an ongoing basis, adapting use to meet the family’s needs, Cody Truscott wrote in a followup email.
The Truscott family currently spends about four months a year at the home, according to Cody, who now manages the property. Even today, the use of short-term rental works to cover the ongoing costs of homeownership like property taxes, maintenance and utilities. The property just broke even for the first time last year, Cody said.
The Truscott family currently spends about four months a year at the home, according to Cody Truscott. Even today, the use of short-term rental works to cover the ongoing costs of homeownership like property taxes, maintenance and utilities. The property just broke even for the first time last year, Cody said.
In his own prepared statement, Cody said he was concerned that possible limitations on short-term rentals in Snowmass Village might have a detrimental impact on his family’s ability to continue being a part of the town.
Snowmass Town Council is still very much in the data-collection and information-gathering stage and has not yet taken action on restrictions, but nearby municipalities like Aspen and Pitkin County have moved forward with ideas for regulation, as have other resort communities.
“This is a place that we care about more deeply about than anything and the idea that we may have to leave if we aren’t able to continue to rent on a short-term basis is troubling,” he said.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct where the Truscotts purchased property in the 1960s and how long the Truscotts have short-term rented their home on Lemond Place.
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