BEHIND THE HEADLINES

Do nightly rentals pose problems

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Q. What is the Community Preservation Alliance, who are its members and what is its purpose?
A. The Community Preservation Alliance represents members of the Steamboat Springs community who support the need for professional and accountable management of vacation home rentals (continually referred to as "nightly rentals"). Nightly rentals is a misnomer for vacation home rentals as they DO NOT rent out on a single-night basis. VHRs are not in the same category as a Super 8, other motels, hotels or condominiums. Our membership is comprised of property owners, property management companies, local business owners and longstanding members of our community.
The purpose of the alliance is to:
n Educate the public and present factual information to rectify exaggerations and misrepresentations that have flooded City Council.
n Oppose regulation that discriminates against VHRs as a commercial endeavor without including short-term rentals (less than 29 nights), long-term rentals (30 nights or longer) and home-based businesses. The Community Development Code rewrite only addresses VHRs.
n Recognize VHRs' considerable contribution to our local economy and that professionally managed VHRs are NOT a source of neighborhood problems.
n Deny regulation if it cannot be proven to be needed. City regulations cost money to enforce and we oppose needless spending and unnecessary controls.
n Lobby for property owners' "use by right" and their expectations to continue to have a variety of home rental options. VHRs have existed for more than 30 years, they are an asset to our community and Steamboat's reputation for being family oriented.

Q. Should vacation home rentals be regulated by the city or through neighborhood covenants?
A. No, the city should not regulate VHRs because no problem exists to be regulated. Neither the city nor the residents need more regulations. Existing city ordinances already provide for regulation of noise and parking impacts (which are most commonly cited problems of long-term leases). We support a registration requirement for ALL rental homes, provision of a 24-hour contact in case of emergency or complaint, and ensuring of sales-tax collection.
Regulation exists via neighborhood covenants. These covenants already regulate and provide individual property owners with protection against unwanted property uses within their respective subdivisions. These agreements are between individual property owners and it is the responsibility of individual property owners to enforce or change them on a demographic-needs basis.
Q. Do vacation home rentals cause disturbances in neighborhoods?
A. No! VHRs cause less disturbances than long-term or other uses in neighborhoods. A recent 10-month study completed by the city proves that VHRs are not the source of disturbances in neighborhoods. VHRs represent some of the highest-quality homes available and are rented out by families, corporate groups, international guests and locals for special occasions. These guests pay a premium rate for the privacy and comfort of these homes; consequently, younger party crowds are not attracted to the home environment or price tag. As a general rule, VHRs do not rent to sports teams or college groups to avoid potential problems. Professionally managed VHRs offer neighbors a 24-hour on-call service to resolve any disturbance whereas the majority of short- and long-term rentals offer no contact for accountability.

Q. Why should VHRs be permitted in residential areas where other commercial uses are prohibited?
A. VHRs should continue to be permitted because the use of the property is ultimately a residential one and the impact is no greater than full-time residents. VHRs historically have provided a segment of lodging that supports a quality family experience based on the preference and appeal of privacy and being immersed within our community's neighborhoods instead of a condominium environment. Long-term rentals, short-term rentals and home-based businesses are as commercial as our VHRs because money is collected for rent or other service the home-based business is providing.
A community-wide survey conducted in 1999 showed the community evenly split on vacation rentals. In contrast, the most recent survey (the Steamboat Pilot & Today Sunday's online question, March 2001) "Should nightly rentals of private property be allowed in Steamboat Springs," concluded with an overwhelming 93 percent yes, 7 percent no.

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