Following local engagement, Silverthorne City Council discusses short-term rental regulations

The Smith Ranch neighborhood in Silverthorne is pictured on Sunday November 7. Because Smith Ranch is designated for workforce housing, it is prohibited to operate a short-term rental in any of its homes.
Lindsey Toomer / Daily Summit News

Two weeks after Silverthorne Town Council approved a comprehensive new plan that emphasizes putting residents first, council members gathered for a working session on regulating short-term rentals .

Currently, there are 220 short-term rentals among Silverthorne’s approximately 2,600 total units.

Although Silverthorne’s percentage of rentals is low, some council members want to get ahead, citing the struggles of other mountain communities with the growing short-term rental market encroaching on family and labor quarters. -work. City staff recommended a potential 10% cap on licenses in neighborhood areas and higher limits, such as 50% or more, in downtown or areas around the Blue River.

“What we’re seeing is that now that the City of Breckenridge is putting a cap on short-term rentals and Summit County is putting a moratorium on short-term rentals in place, we’re seeing an increase in requests for licenses,” Assistant City Manager Mark Leidal said. “We expect to see a significant increase in demand for short-term rental inquiries here. Also, with a lot of the multi-family units we’re building right now here in town, we’re seeing a lot of them turn into short-term rentals. We see a lot coming online here probably over the next year.

This conversation comes at a time when mountain towns across the state are dealing with short-term rental and licensing regulations. On June 7, the Steamboat Springs City Council unanimously approved a tourist district overlay map that prohibits new licenses in most of the city, but allows other areas – such as areas near the ski area and downtown – to be unrestricted. In May, Summit County Commissioners imposed a nine-month moratorium on zones in unincorporated county neighborhoods, and the City of Breckenridge is also continuing its discussion on how to handle licensing using areas.

City Manager Ryan Hyland added that because Silverthorne’s situation is very different from Breckenridge’s, where licensing is causing problems for local neighborhoods and workforce housing, the city council‘s approach to Silverthorne could be more flexible, and he said community members who operate short-term rentals shouldn’t panic. .

“There’s a lot of room for new licenses at Silverthorne, and it looks like the council wants a lot more licenses – that’s right where they are,” Hyland said. “To the point of scaring a lot of people, I think with what (Leidal) has put on the table, where the majority of these new units are coming in, it looks like there could be a lot of room for (new licenses).”

Most council members reached a consensus that protecting the character of traditional neighborhoods should be a priority. Leidal added that in the Willowbrook neighborhood, 16 of the 287 units are short-term rentals. In areas of town like Summit Sky Ranch, that percentage of short-term rentals is much higher. Council member Chris Carran said his concerns were with businesses buying multiple homes in neighborhoods to turn into short-term rentals, rather than second home owners looking to make extra money with their homes. holidays. Leidal said city staff have seen companies buy units in Silverthorne before.

“I really liked the idea of ​​focusing on neighborhoods, and it really fits with our overall plan of ‘people first’ and having neighborhood integrity,” said Amy Manka, a member of the advice. “I also hear a lot of comments from other people about this situation – the impact of having short-term tenants as neighbours. I think that’s something we really need to consider.

Leidal said just discussing short-term rentals in any capacity would likely lead to increased inquiries, but Mike Spry said those who ask are likely to just ask for insurance , not to actually use them. He also said that since the percentage of short-term rentals is still low and does not threaten the housing of the local workforce (since these second homes are more expensive), the council should not worry about it for the moment.

“One, we make a lot of assumptions about what people are going to do with these licenses, and I’m not comfortable reading minds,” Spry said. “There are a lot of different reasons why people choose short-term now. I don’t want to draw little circles around a map and say that this area is treated differently than others. To me, it’s just about property rights.

Council members briefly discussed a moratorium, but decided that taking the time to talk to community members would be the best approach to finding a potential solution.

“The meetings and schedules (of the city council) are really not conducive to our working population. You’ve heard me say all the time that they have to be frequent, that there have to be many different types, (and) they have to be us going into the community because our community is 5,100 people, and there there are seven people in here because (working residents) can’t come here,” said Erin Young, council member. “We have to be really aware of our workers who are working multiple jobs and cannot come to every meeting (and) in every language. They might not be able to come here and be comfortable speaking English in elementary school. Communication is the key.

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