Steamboat votes to extend moratorium on vacation home rental permits

Most of Steamboat’s short-term rentals are in the area known as the “condominium” south of Walton Creek Road.
John F. Russell / steamboat pilot

Steamboat Springs City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to extend a moratorium on vacation home rental permits until June 30.

Council members have yet to vote at second reading for the moratorium to be extended, but they all agree at first reading after planning director Rebecca Bessey asked the council to give the committee more time. planning to develop new policies regulating short-term rentals.

“I’m in favor of an extension, so that we have enough time to go through the process and don’t have to come back and extend,” Bessey told board members in December. “But I also understand that this is urgent, and we have to be reasonable and move forward.”

In 2021, the city hired short-term rental execution company Granicus to bring all short-term rentals into compliance with the city code.

Since most short-term rentals operate without a license, no one seems to know exactly how many there are in the city, but property managers and short-term rental tracking websites believe there are. around 3,000 to 4,000 at Steamboat.

The council declared the moratorium in June in an attempt to curb illegal rentals. At the same time, members called on the town planning commission to start demarcating overlap areas where short-term rentals could be allowed, restricted or banned altogether.

Months after the moratorium began, the previous council removed several streets around Steamboat Resort from the moratorium, as members believed those areas would allow for short-term rentals once the planning commission established its map.

While council members were on the same wavelength about extending the moratorium on Tuesday, Jan.4, some were more enthusiastic than others.

Council President Robin Crossan considered that the reasons for the Council’s promulgation of the moratorium had been met and said the reasons for maintaining it were no longer applicable.

“His goal was to do something with short term rentals and get people from that community involved,” Crossan said. “We didn’t reach the end goal, but we did. “

In contrast, council member Dakotah McGinlay called for the moratorium on streets that were canceled to be put back, as she felt that allowing permit applications in some areas but not in others had created confusion. .

McGinlay also raised concerns over a “gold rush” of candidates flooding the city. The city has received 18 requests since council cut some streets, which McGinlay saw as a problem.

“I just think the planning board should be able to devote its time and energy to the issues at hand, rather than trying to deal with the requests that come to it,” McGinlay said. “We should also try to focus on rebalancing our real estate portfolio. “

The planning department has a full-time staff member who handles vacation home rental requests. The staff member is separate from the planning committee, which is a group of volunteers who develop policy and suggest it to the board.

Board member Michael Buccino disagreed with McGinlay, as Buccino felt that the carved out areas would ultimately allow for overnight rentals, and owners who bought their properties with the intention of renting them out should be able to do so. To do.

“These are areas that are inherently meant for overnight rental and not affordable housing,” Buccino said. “There is a logical reason why the base of a world-class ski resort will have vacation home rentals. “

In disputing McGinlay’s point, Buccino, an interior designer and developer of small homes, said he had had clients purchasing property in the area with the intention of renting by the night.

Board member Heather Sloop, who owns a painting business, highlighted the potential conflict with Buccino having clients in the area, as she believed Buccino might have a financial incentive to vote on short rental policies. specific term.

However, Buccino saw it differently.

“What I bring is my experience of owners and second home owners who pay taxes and things that come from their homes,” said Buccino. “I try to be the voice of my clients who own and own second homes in this city.

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