Summit County Planning Department Proposes Adjustments to Short-Term Rental License Program

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The short term rental properties at Copper Mountain Resort are pictured on Friday August 13th. The Summit County Planning Department is currently reviewing how to modify the county’s short-term rental license program. Some of the proposed changes include two overlapping districts and three different types of permits.
Ashley Low / For the Daily News Summit

When Summit County implemented its temporary moratorium on short-term rental licenses last month, the goal was to free up bandwidth so county staff could adjust their short-term rental schedule.

According to a memo recently written by Summit County Senior Planner Jessica Potter, the county’s current short-term rental program was first adopted in 2018. The memo says there was no distinction. between resort areas and neighborhood areas, and that there is currently a “one-size-fits-all” approach to licensing. The memo indicates that this program is well suited to resort areas, but it does not support takes into account the impact of these licenses on areas traditionally occupied by residents.

At a summit meeting of the County Commissioners Council on September 28, Potter and his team read the memo and presented a new proposal that could change the county’s program. The idea is to launch the changes before the moratorium expires in December.



Potter noted that nothing had been decided yet. As she and her team continue to develop and identify possible changes, community members are encouraged to attend one of two town halls at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday October 7 and October 14 where they can learn more about the program and give feedback.

Overlay zones

The adjustments Potter presented to the commissioners can be grouped into two broad categories: First, she suggested that the county have “stacked areas” where the county is divided into resort areas and neighborhood areas.



According to his note, the resort area would encompass Keystone, Copper Mountain, the unincorporated areas at the base of Peak 8 in Breckenridge and likely Tiger Run Resort. The peculiarity of this area is that these areas have always been intended for short-term vacation occupancy in a resort context.

The neighborhood area would encompass all other unincorporated Summit County properties. This area is intended for neighborhoods that have not been developed as resort neighborhoods.

License types

The second part of the proposed new program would qualify short-term rental licenses into three different types. The memo says that all of these types of licenses would be allowed in resort areas, but some types of licenses would be restricted in neighborhood areas.

The first type, called License Type 1, would be intended for those who rent out their primary residence. Potter’s memo states that this type of user can rent an entire house a few weeks a year or consistently offer a room for rent. Potter said there would be no cap on the number of nights this type of permit could be rented since the assumption is that it is someone’s primary residence.

Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence said she was concerned that most people could bypass the system, thus falling into this category. Potter said his team plans to contact other communities that have similar configurations to determine how “abusive” this type of license could be. Keely Ambrose, deputy district attorney for Summit County, said the county would likely require several proof of residency, such as tax forms, voter registration and a driver’s license, to make sure it was well of someone’s primary residence.

Even then, Lawrence was concerned about this type of license.

“I’m still uncomfortable with license type 1 just because I just can’t figure out how not everyone will understand what their license type would be like,” she said. “It seems to me (it would be) fairly straightforward to convert that sort of thing into your license type, so I’d like to dig into that a bit more.”

Summit County Commissioner Tamara Pogue said she would like to see the Potter team gather more information on this type of license as well.

“We need more thoughtful information on the primary owner and this definition,” said Pogue. “We’re assuming that there won’t be a lot of use or impact on a neighborhood of this Type 1 license, but if we’re not careful how we define it, it might not be the case.”

Potter noted that based on his understanding of the data, this type of license would represent 7% of the existing licenses already in the county program.

The second type of license, called License Type 2, is for owners of second homes who rent out their property on a short-term basis but also use it themselves. According to Potter’s note, this type of license would likely have a cap on the number of nights these units could be rented per year, which could start at 90 nights.

The memo also suggests that if a user with this type of license can prove that they are renting their unit long-term for part of the year, it might be beneficial to give them an incentive such as reduced fees for their rental. Licence.

Pogue and Lawrence both noted that they would like to have more information on how many nights these types of units are capped before making anything official.

The last type of license, called License Type 3, would target investment properties. There would be no cap on the number of nights this rental could be used, but Potter’s note indicates that this type of rental would be “severely limited” in neighborhood areas. An unlimited number of these types of licenses would be permitted in resort areas.

Again, Pogue said she was generally in favor of this type of licensing, but wanted the staff to develop some sort of method to carry out this process fairly.

“I would just caution ourselves against using subjective words as we move through this process,” Pogue said. “I think everyone’s definition of serious may seem a little different, so I’ll be looking forward to a methodology we use to establish how much we allow and don’t allow. Let’s be sensitive to the already fiery nature of this conversation, please.

Pogue and Lawrence both supported the direction of this program, as did Summit County Commissioner Josh Blanchard. Blanchard noted that it’s likely that one person could have multiple license types and wanted staff to consider the impact of that as they continue to develop this new structure.

In the future, staff will continue to create a new program based on all of these comments. The goal is to have code changes developed by November 1 so that if and when these pass, the county’s web hosting platform has time to make the necessary changes.


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