South fork tines | SF City Council Continues Workforce Housing Discussions

SOUTH FORK – At the South Fork City Board meeting on August 23, the public expressed concern about short-term rentals in the South Fork. The city recently passed a moratorium banning all new short-term rentals in the 81154 zip code and the community has asked that the moratorium continue.

Several owners of lodges and RV parks in the area were on hand to thank the city for acting against the massive growth of the short-term rental market in the South Fork, which a recent study has estimated to be around 19 % of housing in South Fork.

Before the start of the busy summer season, the city began having conversations about how it could help local business owners of lodges and RV parks.

Many lodge and RV park owners at the recent meeting said their overnight and summer rentals were still down, but they also said they noticed a difference from previous years. .

“First of all thank you for coming together and imposing the moratorium, for hiring a short term rental code enforcement officer, for doing what you need to do to increase the fees , these are all big steps in the right direction, but with everyone else, we don’t stay full. So if we don’t stay full why would we need more short term rentals? Why don’t we take care of the city dwellers, the people who live here year-round, the tax-paying guys, instead of letting people come in from outside and buy a house and rent it out. It’s our livelihood, it’s how we make a living,” said local business owner Keith Johnson.

South Fork is one of many communities facing recent growth in short-term rentals in the Valley. Several municipalities are grappling with the need for workforce housing, especially in summer tourism-oriented communities that rely on summer workers like South Fork and Creede.

Although many communities in the valley are struggling with the lack of housing for employees, other issues are related to the increase in short-term rentals, including the market impact on established hotel businesses, motels, lodges and RV parks.

As these comments were made during the public comment portion of the agenda, no further action was taken by the Board.

Council unanimously passed Resolution 22-27 later in the meeting, which took further steps toward solving the town’s workforce housing problem. At a previous meeting, the city elected to hire a Code Enforcement Officer who would also serve as the Code Enforcement Officer for short-term rentals to ensure that those in the South Fork comply with all national and local regulations.

Resolution 22-27 states, “The City of South Fork Board of Directors recognizes an immediate and urgent need to support workforce development and affordable housing efforts in the City of South Fork and considering that there are currently no homes for rent in the South Fork and immediate vicinity and the South Fork Housing Action Plan for August 2022 has determined the current urgency to build new rental housing and for sale to achieve the goal of 20-30 new homes by 2027. The Board of Directors is committed to supporting efforts to achieve this goal for the City of South Fork and the San Luis Valley.

According to the resolution, the city will create a program to subsidize or otherwise reduce local development review or fees, grant duplexes, triplexes or other multi-family dwellings to be built in residential areas, allow planned unit developments and development of small-scale homes and promote innovative or creative approaches to affordable housing to help meet immediate need.

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