Snowmass Village Town Council eyes Jan. 3 for short-term rental updates
More discussion, no major action yet on the docket yet for first meeting of 2022
Snowmass Village officials have their eyes on a Jan. 3 Town Council meeting to get updates on the town’s short-term rental inventory, according to a draft agenda that council approved at a Dec. 20 regular meeting.
At the rate the weeks are flying by, that date is “almost like tomorrow,” Councilman Tom Fridstein said Monday during the last meeting of 2021.
Currently, there’s no particular action on the docket for the Jan. 3 meeting — just more conversation in what Town Manager Clint Kinney called a “kickoff” to the next steps and an opportunity to “define the problem” — whether that’s town capacity, workforce housing supply, parties or something else — council would like to address.
“Once we know what we’re trying to solve, we’d be able to say, ‘OK, now that we understand the problem we’re trying to solve for, here’s the solution,’” Kinney said.
Snowmass council members have been mulling the impact of short-term rentals on the town for months.
Councilman Bob Sirkus raised concerns back in July that a booming short-term market could play into long-term concerns about maintaining the character of the town while balancing the village’s role as a resort that can accommodate tourists and as a community who can house its workers. Council members also discussed the impact of the market on employee housing as well as community character at a meeting in November.
Recent movement in neighboring jurisdictions has kept the wheels turning, according to the Dec. 20 discussion.
In Aspen, city council put a pause on short-term rental permits; Pitkin County commissioners will in January consider an ordinance regulating the industry in unincorporated parts of the county to mitigate what county commissioner Patti Clapper called “the hotelification of neighborhoods.”
“Both of those jurisdictions (Aspen and Pitkin County) are also taking this subject up and seem to be, kind of, a bit ahead of us,” Sirkus said. “And I’m wondering if we shouldn’t at least try to have a regional discussion or a county-wide discussion with these entities with the intent of eventually trying to have a county-wide policy for short term rentals.”
Snowmass Village currently only requires short-term rental operators to acquire a business license and pay applicable taxes to the town.
But as town staff and electeds have noted, Snowmass Village’s short-term rental landscape looks a little different than that of Aspen or unincorporated Pitkin County because many of the properties in that cohort line Fanny Hill and have historically always been rented short-term. Some properties even have restrictions on long-term occupancy that limit how long anyone can stay in the unit.
Council members hope to simultaneously discuss the topic within council chambers and among nearby agencies like Aspen, unincorporated Pitkin County and Basalt; Fridstein suggested a “two-pronged approach” that looks at the hyperlocal and regional landscape.
Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk also proposed more conversation with stakeholders in the village to get input from the community of people involved in and impacted by short-term rentals in the town.
“I think that it would be a great idea to have an open forum — it doesn’t necessarily have to be the council meeting but … inviting people to come in and have an open discussion about it,” Shenk said.
A streambank stabilization project on the Crystal River just west of Marble is on hold after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined that the work undertaken this past summer fell outside what is allowed by the project’s permit.
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