Potential revisions to STR regulations to be presented to Steamboat Springs City Council
When Steamboat Springs City Council passed the short-term rental overlay zone back in June, they directed the city’s staff to prepare revisions to those newly adopted restrictions on short-term rentals to account for residents who wish to rent out their primary residences a few times a year.
Council’s direction to staff came in response to feedback from members of the community who wanted to rent out their homes while on vacation and argued that such use doesn’t take properties out of the rental market.
On Monday, Oct. 24, the city’s planning commission discussed those revisions that will be brought back to City Council.
The newly amended draft of the city’s municipal code defines “temporary short-term rentals,” meaning primary residences that operate as short-term rentals while the owner or permanent resident is not present.
If the revisions are adopted, properties would be allowed to function as temporary short-term rentals twice a year for a total of fewer than 30 days, regardless of the limits on short-term rentals applied to the property’s neighborhood.
Operators of temporary short-term rentals will need to obtain a temporary short-term rental license. Just like the other types of short-term rental licenses, the operators would need to display a visible and legible notice on the property that provides specifics of the issued license such as the contact information of the local responsible party.
The city’s Planning Director Rebecca Bessey said she expects the licenses will only need to be displayed when a residence is being rented out; not all year.
The fee structure for all short-term rental license types is still being discussed. The city is still trying to assess the costs incurred by the city for the license registration process and the costs of enforcement.
“My initial thoughts were to have one fee for all license types,” Bessey said. “The time it will take to process, review and approve those applications and enforce any potential violations would be similar. If over time we are able to collect data and see a trend that the time that’s involved from an enforcement standpoint on the temporary short-term rentals is less, then we could adjust the fee.”
Two other significant revisions to the city’s policies on short-term rentals are also being discussed.
The current language in the city’s municipal code allows one occupant in a short-term rental per 150 square feet of floor area, but a proposed revision would allow at least two occupants regardless of space.
“We wanted to make sure that all short-term rentals could at least accommodate two occupants,” Bessey said.
During a Q&A session back in September, Bessey answered questions and received feedback regarding the city’s newly adopted regulations on short-term rentals. During that session, a few short-term rental operators asked how they could accommodate traveling couples in rooms less than 300 square feet, and the latest revision shows that Bessey and the planning department respected that feedback.
The planning department will also bring to City Council a proposed revision that would allow residents in the “green zones,” where short-term rentals are not restricted, to forego the licensing process as long as their properties offer relevant services such as a staffed front desk and 24-hour security.
Properties such as the Steamboat Grand, which function similar to hotels, would instead apply for an exemption that would uniformly apply to the individual property owners within the complex. Each year, the city would review the exemptions.
“I had not envisioned there being a cost for the exemption,” Bessey said. “But that is something that we have not finalized yet.”
The planning commission will have a hearing on the amendments on Nov. 10. Two ordinances will be presented to City Council for first reading on Dec. 6, one to amend text in the Community Development Code and another to make adjustments to the short-term rental licensing codes.
If approved by City Council, the second reading of those ordinances will happen on Dec. 13.
To reach Spencer Powell, call 970-871-4229 or email him at spowell@SteamboatPilot.com
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