City Council to review home rental policy Tuesday

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On the Agenda

5 p.m. City Council meets in executive, or secret, session to discuss the possible acquisition of real estate

5:30 p.m. Agenda review; city staff reports; discussion of City Council positions regarding regional oil shale development and Bureau of Land Management policies; resolution adopting the Steamboat Springs Community Housing Guidelines, which set standards and formulas for enacting the city's inclusionary zoning and linkage ordinance that regulates affordable housing; first reading of an ordinance revising city policies for vacation home rentals

7 p.m. Public comment; second reading of ordinances to form the Steamboat Springs Downtown Business Improvement District and revise city policies regarding the receipt of gifts by city officials; re-consideration of fee-in-lieu policy contained in inclusionary zoning ordinance; discussion and possible action on projects including a 20-unit townhome development on Eagle Glen Lane and Bear Claw III, a development on the slopes of Steamboat Ski Area

— City officials are ready to once again set regulations for vacation home rentals, an industry that allows short-term vacationers to stay in neighborhood settings but which draws the ire of year-round residents who complain of noise and traffic.

The Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday will conduct the first reading of its revised vacation home rental ordinance. The public discussion will be the latest round of debate about an issue that in the past year has led to revocation hearings, quasi-judicial proceedings, and a lawsuit filed against the city by homeowners on Ridge Road.

In a meeting April 20, the City Council voted to extend a temporary ban on new permits for vacation home rentals through Aug. 7. The City Council enacted an initial 90-day ban in February, to address citizens' concerns and revise unclear sections of the ordinance originally passed in 2001.

Vacation home rentals are homes in residential neighborhoods that are rented to short-term vacationers and sometimes used for private functions.

The city has issued more than 50 vacation rental permits in the past six years. City staff and vacation home renters have said the Steamboat Springs area likely harbors more than 100 vacation home rentals, many of which currently are operating without a permit.

A draft of the revised ordinance already is spurring debate.

"Instead of tweaking the code, we feel like they've gone totally overboard," Robin Cragen, vice-president of the Steamboat Springs Vacation Home Rental Alliance, said of city planning staff and city attorney Tony Lettunich. "We feel like they have gone 180 degrees in the wrong direction."

Cragen said tighter regulations, such as parking requirements and annual city reviews of vacation rental permits, place an undue burden on the vacation rental industry.

Ridge Road resident Bill Moser, an outspoken advocate of tighter regulations, could not be reached for comment.

Tom Leeson, director of the city's planning department, said Friday the draft ordinance is "a good start."

"But I think there will be changes," Leeson said.

"The whole point of a first reading is to give us a chance to hear what everybody has to say," City Council President Susan Dellinger said. "I'm pretty happy with the ordinance. I think Tom (Leeson) and Tony (Lettunich) did a great job."

Tonight's meeting begins at 5:30 at Centennial Hall. Also on the agenda is a reconsideration of the fee-in-lieu policy in the city's inclusionary zoning and linkage ordinance, which sets local affordable housing requirements for developers.

- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203

or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

SangriaMama 7 years, 5 months ago

Scott, we would love to think that simple solutions are out there. This is more complicated picture. There are neighborhoods on the mountain where vacation homes are not rented (we often call them second homes). In these cases two or three families come and use their house as they please. Comparing their use of their home and a vacation rental I see little difference. Requiring restrictions on rentals that were no greater than their normal use would eliminate the need for most of these restrictions.

For the most part we are not talking about our family neighborhoods downtown - the neighborhoods in question are actually on the mountain, right next to the skiing, where people bought with the expectation of a rental potential, and if the opponents of the VHRs opened their eyes, the expectation that vacationers might be their neighbors some of the time. The complaints are almost zero, less than for long term rentals and other city residents. We have to look at the evidence and ask if this is really needed.

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beentheredonethat 7 years, 5 months ago

blah, blah, blah.... no one really cares about this issue.

start focusing that extra energy of yours on solving the daily traffic crisis polluting down town steamboat.

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trollunderthebridge 7 years, 5 months ago

To Condoguy - sleeping 24 in a condo or a townhome is actually a permitted use. The homes that the City is talking about are single family and duplex homes.

With regard to the 3 unrelated persons living in a home, this is the type of thing the City sets up and has no way, no funds or the desire to check on. If you the homeowner have more than 3 people (kids or adults) "occcupying" your home in Steamboat you are also subject to the bed checks by the City as there is no way from the outside of a home to know if they are a vacation home rental or just your second home you vacation in. I can make a complaint to the Director of Planning and you be required to let them in within 24 hours.

What about long term rentals as they are the worst offender..remember the demo party recently? Are they going to hire an $80k code enforcement person to do bed checks? Who is going to pay for this --- you and me!

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Scott Wedel 7 years, 5 months ago

Seems to me the solution is relatively simple - limit residential neighborhood vacation rentals to uses typical of a residential neighborhood. I note that zoning states that a single family house cannot legally be occupied by more than 3 adults unless all are related or are servants. If a rule like that is good enough for the full time residents of a house then it should also be good enough for the vacation renters.

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thecondoguy1 7 years, 5 months ago

I agree with the above, the idea of a for sale ad for a condo or townhome stating sleeps 24 is ridiculous, just because you can stack a bunch of campers in a house does not make it right, this has got to stop........

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elphaba 7 years, 5 months ago

I agree with btdt.....Let's focus on a real issue and get on with life.

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thecondoguy1 7 years, 5 months ago

I understand the regulations, it's ridiculous even for guest or vacational rental purposes that there should be that many people "crashing" in one house in any of these areas. the more 2nd home owners spending more time up here, the more unpopular this is going to be, to often these vacationers forget their manners.......... to much property is marketed with the impression of big rents, and then in the contract the broker exculps themselves via language stating this verbal stuff maybe a bunch of bull.

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SangriaMama 7 years, 5 months ago

There is not one complaint on file with the Police Dept. or the City for the problem you describe. It is not reality, just like the idea of the City sending someone to count bodies in a house is not reality either (their words not mine).

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Scott Wedel 7 years, 5 months ago

My point is that the allowed use of a house should be the same regardless of whether they are full time occupants, vacation home users or full time occupants.

It is ridiculous that the neighbors can complain about 4 unrelated adults sharing a house and the city will investigate while a VHR can have 20+ people stay there. Pick one set of rules. If 20+ people in a house is okay in some mountain neighborhoods then also allow it for the full time residents. A more realistic rule would be along the lines of 4 adults in a 2 bedroom house plus 1.4 (rounding up) additional adults per additional bedroom. So 5 bedroom house could have 8 adults.

City gov't should not care one bit and make no attempts to honor promises made by real estate agents. Agents say stuff like "big lot, could be split", "property could be annexed" or "house could be a vacation rental" despite all those claims being against city policy, zoning or regional plans.

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trollunderthebridge 7 years, 5 months ago

Scott... I think you have missed the point... The City is not going to check on anyone. They do not have the means or the money (unless they use some of their consultant fees) to check on anything and don't. At their own admission, they have written Ordinances and then do nothing about them.

They don't check on long term rentals - the biggest offender and source of noise complaints and parties - just look at the Record- , they don't check on the owner occupied primary or second homes. I bet you have had more than 3 un-related people staying at your home at some point in time, so why should they be doing bed checks for VHR's, who have had not one complaint in over 6 years. You don't read in the Record that VHR had a demo party or loud drunken people wandering around a neighborhood.

If I want to complain about you having more than 3 people in your home (and I can), they will do nothing, if a VHR gets a complaint about having more than 3 people, they can potentially slap them with a fine and potential "take the rights" of an owner away. So in answer to your statement "if they allow it in VHR's they should allow it in your home... They do.

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