Silverthorne, Summit County consider new regulations for short-term vacation rentals
SILVERTHORNE — Rapid growth in the short-term vacation rental industry has Silverthorne officials intent on crafting new regulations that town staff hope will be effective and enforceable.
Many local governments have undertaken similar efforts, so Silverthorne staff prepared for town council an informational packet detailing existing regulations in Minturn, Salida, Manitou Springs, Georgetown, Estes Valley, Durango, Crested Butte, Frisco, Vail and Breckenridge.
While they look to rein in the burgeoning industry, Silverthorne officials are trying to take into consideration all stakeholders, including those who own the units, those who live next to them and those who compete against them. Neighborhood and homeowners associations also were brought up during conversations.
During the Wednesday work session, council members reached a consensus to better regulate short-term rental units. The first actions people are likely to see will be administrative in nature, concerning things like licensing, the fee structure and town code.
Council members said a bigger discussion will come next, requiring more community input on restrictive actions like limiting areas eligible for short-term rentals, how often they can be rented and the number of units allowed in specific neighborhoods.
During Wednesday’s discussion, council members generally favored creating a separate business license and hiring an outside company to identify unlicensed businesses operating in town.
Town staff said that they aren’t looking to profit from the proposed business license and corresponding fee structure but that they’d like to recoup the town’s administrative costs from managing the program.
“With business licensing, sales tax and lodging tax, there’s a lot of staff time involved with that,” said Laura Kennedy, Silverthorne’s director of finance and administrative services. “It isn’t your typical business that would have an accountant running the show.”
Summit County is also working on regulating short-term rentals in unincorporated areas of the county, and Silverthorne is keeping a keen eye on that conversation, too.
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