Letter: Steamboat has a problem | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Steamboat has a problem

It has come to our attention that Steamboat Springs has a problem. Throughout our 47 years living in our wonderful town, we have witnessed and welcomed all sorts of growth, most of which seemed fine. The people were friendly, and the economy supported a variety of diverse occupations.

The arts have blossomed, and new schools were built and filled with great kids. Most of us managed to find adequate housing by renting or buying, but that is changing now, which leads us to the problem.

Many of our homes now have small attached rental units that over the years have helped us pay the mortgage and provide small homes for singles, couples and small families. This system seems to have worked very well. Homeowners were happy as well as other residents of the neighborhood.

The problem: We are now quickly losing our neighborhoods due to the overnight guests of Airbnb, VRBO and other short-term rentals. Many of our neighbors have no idea who is staying next door or where the 6-plus cars and trucks are going to park. The music is loud — even on weekdays — and cars come and go at all hours of the day and night. And who do we call?

Some guests are friendly, but others don’t seem to welcome some neighborly advice. What incentive would any property owner have to follow any unenforced regulations? We don’t expect the regulations to change for existing overnight rentals, but shouldn’t there be some enforcement or at least a posted permit, so neighbors can know what’s happening next door and that we are all following the law?

We also suggest that we discontinue any new short-term rental applications and encourage long-term rentals. These proposals might provide, if it is not too late, what our community needs most: affordable housing.

Johnny and Gigi Walker

Steamboat Springs

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