Letter: Address short-term rentals everywhere
I applauded the Our View in Steamboat Pilot & Today for pointing out that it is time to address the impact of short-term rentals in our community. I emailed Steamboat Springs City Council and the city manager last week expressing similar opinions and urged action (I got replies, so thank you).
The city needs to go beyond studying, monitoring and just licensing to actions, regulation and limitations that have a real impact on the effect of short-term rentals on both quality of life for residents and housing availability. I strongly disagree, though, as do my neighbors, in the view expressed that short-term rentals make sense in the mountain area, and there should just be a moratorium on them in the Old Town area.
The editorial board needs to get out and about more, since there are residential neighborhoods in the mountain area that have families, character and deserve to have quality of life protected just as much as Old Town Steamboat. Our neighborhood of homes (not condos) is in the mountain area and is a residential neighborhood with a great mix of families, retirees and working folk. Most all of us bought here because it was a residential neighborhood.
Four years ago, there was just one short-term rental in the neighborhood, and now there are seven. Four of them are within one block of our home and one next door. Our quality of life is impacted putting up with and policing this growing number of short-term rentals. People partying who don’t care about the quiet of our residential neighborhood, cars speeding in and out of the neighborhood endangering children, trash bins left out for days, trash bins put out the night before for bears that we end up picking up trash from and properties that aren’t maintained.
My suggestions for action are: 1) Limit the number in all residential neighborhoods, since once you get a certain number, the character and quality of a neighborhood is forever altered; 2) Increase the license fee since it is a paltry $100 per year today; 3) Require business licenses to operate and pay lodging taxes since they are hotels; 4) Put in place stiff penalties for certain infractions; 5) Apply the money generated in license fees, lodging taxes and fines to fund an enforcement resource. Having a license alone does not control their behavior, so enforcement is key.
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