YEA TO NIGHTLY RENTALSThis letter is in regard to the current issue our City Council is debating in reference to "nightly/vacation" rentals in private homes in Steamboat Springs. As the general manager of a local property-management company and a member of this community, I am in favor of keeping "nightly/vacation" rentals in private homes available to our guests. Yes, our guests, Steamboat Springs guests, Routt County guests, yours and my guests. These are the people who make it possible for most of us to make a living in such a magnificent area of the country. Before I even address the financial, legal or enforcement of this issue, I want to point out a more basic viewpoint in that we can no longer be defined as a ranching community, a resort community or a retirement community. We are all of these and more, which puts Steamboat Springs, and other towns, in a unique situation. We have historically and continually promoted Steamboat Springs as a "family-oriented" destination. As a "family-oriented" destination, we are attracting larger groups of people who have special needs, and that need is houses. Do we suddenly eliminate these prospective guests and "money spenders" from our community and tax base?
Now, financially, do we want these guests to go spend their hard-earned money in some other resort community? All of us in Steamboat Springs benefit from these guests and that is a fact. The amount of money spent in our businesses and the tax dollars from these people is significant and that is a fact as well. Even though our firm represents only a few "nightly/vacation" homes, it accounts for more than 25 percent of our business each year. From this business, taxes are paid as well as contributions made to the Transportation Fund. So let's not think that if we lose this type of guest that we would not lose money to our community. Not only would the Property Management Companies lose revenue, but retailers, restaurants, gas stations, hardware/lumber stores, sporting good stores and all of the support vendors such as heating contractors, construction contractors and many more too numerous to list. The people who can afford to rent these homes, have money and are willing to spend it. These are not rowdy partyers who cause damage or are continually a problem to our community. These are family people, who picked us out of many other easier to reach resort communities, in which to spend their money.
In fact, in researching our records, we have had no complaints on any guests who have rented one of our homes.
My next point is, who are these individuals who want to eliminate these homes from "nightly/vacation" rental pools and why are they doing so? I hope they realize what the alternatives are to not having a particular home in a "nightly/vacation" rental pool. One of these alternatives is having a "long-term" renter move in with their barking/unleashed dogs, inoperable, jacked-up vehicles and loud parties, living in the house 365 days a year. None of our homes allows pets, our guests do not bring junky cars and most "nightly/vacation" homes are only rented 150 days or so per year. So, do these neighbors want to enjoy more than 200 days of no one in their neighbor's house, or would they rather have it occupied all year with a less-than-desirable situation?
I would now like to know, if this issue does pass City Council, who is going to enforce it and how much money does the city get to spend to do so? This is virtually an unenforceable situation that has just too many gray areas to consider. Where does the manpower come from to institute and implement such enforcement and where do the funds come from to support it? If a certain neighborhood or association wants to disallow "nightly/vacation" rentals, then they have that power to do it without the city spending time, energy and money they do not have. Just as a Steamboat resident, I personally do not want one cent of my tax dollars spent on such an unproductive matter. I find it extremely inappropriate for the city to be spending my tax dollars debating this issue now and wasting its time to satisfy a select few of individuals when there are certainly more pressing issues for the city to be considering at this time. The city should not be asked to regulate this issue, control it or enforce it period! To the City Council I say, "Put your efforts, time, energy and money to a use that will benefit the community as a whole." Whether City Council sides with one viewpoint or another on this issue, it should not be yours to debate or to decide.
NEA TO RENTALSThe word is out that property-management companies and other bed-and-breakfast/nightly rental advocates will attempt to "pack" the council meeting at 6 p.m. May 21 in the citizens meeting room.
As brief review, planners and a few council persons wish to make B&Bs a use-by-right under the new zoning code. They are not permitted in the current code.
It appears that at least two council members are in favor of this commercial intrusion into our residential neighborhoods. It is important that opponents come to the meeting to offset the packing planned by the advocates.
I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the CMC graduating class. I was scheduled to give the commencement speech this past week, and due to unforeseen circumstances at the capitol that required my presence, I was unable to attend. The circumstances were that my telemarketing bill, House Bill 1405, of which I was the prime sponsor, was scheduled to be heard in appropriations committee, and then on the House floor for second reading.
I offer my most heartfelt congratulations to all of you for your hard work and accomplishment.
I would also like to correct some information that appeared in the Steamboat Today article April 29. The article stated that I had just returned from Vietnam when I got into the ski business, and implied that I might not believe education is important.
I had returned from overseas after completing a tour with the U.S. Army, but in Germany, not Vietnam.
As to my belief in the importance of education, I believe it is more important today to finish a degree, either college, or vocational, than it ever has been in our history.
I do very much regret not having a degree, and believe that I was extremely lucky in my business career to have been as successful as I was without one. Circumstances were uniquely different in the ski industry 25 years ago, and what I was able to accomplish then would be much more difficult to do today.
It is through the attainment of higher education that we ensure a better potential for success in life, without having to rely on the existence of unique circumstances.
Through the existence of CMC, we are lucky to have access to educational opportunities that wouldn't otherwise be available to us.
Once again, congratulations graduates, and thank you CMC educators and administrators for being there for us!
State Representative Al White
KUDOS TO DEGETTE
I would like to commend U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette of District 1 for her opposing vote in committee of HR 1542 proving once again that she truly is a consumer advocate. This controversial legislation introduced by Representative Bill Tauzin of Louisiana and John Dingell of Michigan would deregulate the deployment of high-speed Internet pipelines by allowing so-called Baby Bells to offer long-distance data services without fully opening their local networks to competitors. This bill stifles competition and gives the Bell companies an unfair advantage over competing local exchange carriers. This bill will once again give the Bell companies a monopoly of the market. This is in complete opposition to the deregulation according to the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
I appeal to all consumers interested in competition and fair prices to write or call their U.S. Representative to voice your opposition to this bill which is all for Bell and none for the consumer.
Nadine H. Sprague
Coloradans for Competitive Telecommunications