Letter: The problem with nightly rental housing
The problem with short-term nightly rental housing in single-family neighborhoods is not that local residents generally hate tourism, but it was never intended to be in our neighborhoods. Single-family zoning mentions residential use and regulates the number of long-term occupants. It was never intended to deal with people using houses as commercial nightly rental enterprises.
Hotels and motels pay commercial property rates, which is about four times as much as residential property rates. Thus, residential nightly rentals are receiving a massive tax break compared with competing commercial businesses due court rulings-based specific language in laws, which never considered the possibility of nightly rentals.
It is ridiculous to cite payment of nightly rental taxes as being fair compensation to the community of not paying thousands of dollars of property taxes. Also, losing single-family housing units from being occupied by local residents to being rented nightly is part of the reason why we have to use taxpayer money to build Yampa Valley Housing Authority affordable units at about $250,000 each.
Single-family housing being used as nightly rentals is very costly to the community and is a parasitic use of a home, which should never have been allowed. It is also deeply wrong that the Steamboat zoning code allows several times more people to stay in a house if a nightly rental than if occupied by full-time residents. Airbnb was founded by people seeking to share their home so they could better afford to live in their home.
We have a local government whose pursuit of lodging and sales taxes at all costs has unfortunately been successful and has now amplified our housing crisis. The consequences have been tens of millions of dollars of local real estate that is no longer available as homes for local residents.
City Council’s consideration of overlay zones is weak, minimal and the only positive that can be said about it is that it is better than previous policies encouraging nightly rentals in single family neighborhoods.
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