STR owners at Ski Time Square Condos can’t meet one requirement, but city to cut them a break
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Further complicating the dilemma faced by the residents at the Ski Time Square Condominiums, whose parking structure was deemed unsafe and closed by local officials in October, is the upcoming April 30 deadline to register short-term rentals with the city.
Because a requirement for short-term rental licenses is to provide at least one on-site parking space, short-term rental operators at the Ski Time Square Condominiums would lose their ability to rent out their properties for stays of less than 30 days if not for the waiver approved by City Council on Tuesday, April 27.
According to the city’s planning director, Rebecca Bessey, the city received 32 short-term rental license applications from residents at the condominium complex. But Bessey’s department kept those requests pending until City Council had time to weigh in because the applications would have all been denied by default.
“I’d also like to remind you that it was not due to negligence on our behalf that led to Ski Time Square losing its on-site parking,” Ski Time Square resident Dawn Sienicki wrote to the city manager on April 18. “We seem to be continually punished for playing by the rules.”
Ski Time Square Condominiums signed a 98-year lease for 60 parking spaces at the now-inoperable parking structure back in 1974.
Expecting a flood of complaints if the city denied all 32 license applications, the planning department drafted an ordinance granting a waiver to the parking requirements for residents at the Ski Time Square Condominiums. City Council passed the ordinance unanimously at first reading on Tuesday but gave two additional directions for the final version of the ordinance being brought back next week for second reading.
The council members expressed worries that renters would exploit the nearby 2-hour parking areas by moving their vehicle every couple of hours.
So to ensure renters come to town prepared for the lack of parking, council members requested that the owners of the licenses must disclose in their advertisements that on-site and off-street parking is not provided.
“When notifying potential renters that on-site parking is not available, (Ski Time Square) applicants have found that a surprisingly large number of short-term renters do not have a car while renting at STS,” Sienicki wrote to the city manager.
Over the winter, the HOA representing the condo complex formed an agreement with the city to allow residents to park at Emerald Park and employ on-demand shuttle rental companies to get back and forth. During summer, however, Emerald Park will see heavy use so that lot won’t be available as a stopgap parking solution.
At the very least, Sienicki said, people could use the paid-overnight parking structure at the Gondola Transit Center or other less-proximate lots and use city transit or shuttle rental companies like they have been doing at Emerald Park.
Council members also deliberated over setting an expiration date for the waiver. They entertained ranges of time between a couple of months to a couple of years before agreeing to a one-year expiration date because it aligned with the time residents will need to reapply for their short-term rental licenses anyway. If the situation doesn’t change much between now and then, the council members expect to reopen the discussion for providing another waiver.
Both Bessey and the city’s attorney, Dan Foote, agreed that requiring the lack of parking to be disclosed on advertisements and adding the expiration date into the ordinance before next week’s second reading is reasonable and legal.
City Council President Robin Crossan asked the city attorney if there was an avenue for the city to help facilitate an agreement between the HOA and developers that could provide parking for Ski Time Square Condominiums within some of the new developments expected along Ski Time Square Drive.
“My concern is, as development plans start to come through for Ski Time Square, these people could be left out in the cold,” Crossan said. “And I know that’s not our responsibility in any way, shape, or form, but is there anything we can think of?”
Foote replied that those negotiations would have to be between the HOA and the nearby landowners, and the city wouldn’t have any leverage to urge the two sides into an agreement.
“I’ve been thinking about this,” Foote said. “People have asked me this question a number of times, and I cannot think of any shred of a legal basis for us to tell this landowner that they have an obligation to provide parking for another property.”
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