County looks to regulate short term rentals
Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County, Colorado
The house three doors down from Jack Hibbert has become a nuisance in his opinion.
His once “quiet” Grand Lake-area subdivision has been impacted by a short-term rental home.
About a year ago, new neighbors began making available their four-bedroom, three-bath home, which as advertised fetches $1,050 to $2,205 a week and sleeps 12. The cabin also rents out on a per-day basis.
But neighbors have started to complain about the renters.
Hibbert claims the renters clog the road with cars, block residents’ access to their homes, sometimes have parties late into the night and are disrespectful of the neighborhood open space by driving four-wheelers and snowmobiles through it.
“It’s one of those things that all of a sudden, it turned into a motel environment,” said Hibbert of Golden and Grand Lake, whose own mountain home has been in his family for 40 years.
“It’s impacting the value of my property and everybody else’s property,” he said.
The home is zoned residential, but renting the home out on a nightly basis for lodging is not definitively prohibited by county zoning regulations, according County Planner Kris Manguso.
And because such rentals are so common in Grand County’s resort communities, regulating such them in residential zones would take up considerable county resources, so county officials have turned a blind eye to the issue for years.
The single rental property Hibbert brought to the county’s attention “is causing the association some grief,” said Mountain Meadows Subdivision Homeowners Association President Mike Collins. He said the homeowners association has had to pay for extra maintenance on the road leading to the property since it has become a short-term rental.
Hibbert is not the only one complaining, Collins said.
“It’s many neighbors – those adjacent to the property, the neighbors across the river, several people along the road of the rental property … at least six neighbors are immediately affected and are complaining.”
Hibbert and the Homeowners Association have contacted the county to enforce what they see as a zoning issue.
“We’re hoping the county would step up and take action,” Collins said.
The Mountain Meadows situation prompted discussion at last Tuesday’s Grand County commissioners meeting.
Commissioners agreed that if the county can’t enforce short-term rental properties, why not tailor zoning to better accommodate them?
Another option would be to find a way to regulate rentals such as through a licensing program.
The Town of Grand Lake adopted a nightly rental licensing program about three years ago and has since reported success. Licensure is designed to ensure rental units are managed properly. Complaints about a property can instigate public review and possible revocation of a license.
County staff was instructed to research the matter and come up with proposals to be reviewed by the Grand County Planning Commission at a future date.
Contacted last Wednesday, the owner of the Mountain Meadows rental property that is the source of complaints briefly stated before hanging up that he tries to live a “peaceful life” and doesn’t “want to stir up any more problems” with neighbors.
As far as enacting homeowners association covenants to ban short-term rentals in the neighborhood, Collins said it is an avenue that could be taken but one that incurs extra legal expenses and requires a vote of the majority.
Nevertheless, “We will probably have to enact something,” he said.
– Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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