Granby updates short-term rental rules
The Granby Board of Trustees has updated town code regulating short-term rentals intent on improving enforcement and safety.
Trustees unanimously approved the update on Tuesday, and it will go into effect 30 days after it is published. The biggest change will be a new requirement asking STR operators to buy a key safe to give firefighters and first responders easy access to all rooms inside the unit.
Grand Fire Protection District Chief Brad White explained that this would be like the Knox Box, which acts like a small outdoor safe containing keys. With those keys, emergency responders can access a building and all rooms inside without the delays or damage from a forced entry. These types of boxes are already required for commercial buildings in town.
Accessing the master key to open the Knox Boxes requires an individual code, meaning the fire department can track who uses the master key. Officials at the fire district think the key safe is necessary is because of reoccurring late night emergency calls.
“The fire department has become the midnight maintenance group,” White told trustees. “This seems like a viable solution.”
The issue arises when the fire department needs to access rooms that are locked by the STR operator. For example, responders might think a locked storage room could be triggering a carbon monoxide or fire alarm but they can’t get in to check.
If the maintenance person does not answer a call from firefighters, which has often been the case, the fire department then has to decide whether to break down the access door or kick out the renters to ensure their safety.
Alternatively, with these key safes, a key to that storage room would be easily accessible to the fire department, allowing quick access and saving the STR owner from having to possibly replace a door.
Other safety updates for STRs units include requiring a clearly marked address number, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and accessible egress doors and windows. The update also gives the town the ability to inspect STRs to ensure compliance.
The code updates also requires that the responsible agent of the STR return phone calls from any officer or firefighter responding to the property within an hour of the official leaving a voice message.
Additionally, the town updated its fee schedule for the units, adding a $500 fee for places with four or more bedrooms. Previously, the highest fee was $400 for three or more bedrooms.
Town Manager Ted Cherry said Granby would be working with the fire department on how long current operators have to get a key safe. The owners will have some time to get new protocols in place, though the timeframe has not been decided.
There are approximately 300 STRs currently registered in Granby.
In other business:
• As the Grand Elk General Improvement District, the town decided to move forward with August Capital as the purchaser of the Buckhorn Lots. There are $52,824 worth of back taxes and interest due on those 52 lots, which this purchase would pay off. Trustees received two comparable offers.
Both August Capital and Gearhart Moore Holdings offered $85,000 for the lots, which lack almost any infrastructure. The town manager did not make a recommendation to the town as he is friends with one of the partners in August Capital.
Both developers planned to build on the lots over a three year period, but August plans to complete all infrastructure this summer. This tipped the scales in favor of August Capital. Staff will come back with a purchase contract to be approved at the next board meeting.
• Also as the Grand Elk General Improvement District, the trustees approved an adjustment on certain lots in the Village at Eagle Ridge. The developer will likely come back with more adjustments for other lots in that same area.
• The board approved a revision to the Granby Station plat. Following extensive negotiations with the railroad company to lease a small part of their land, the developer adjusted the plat for the residential section of Granby Station so that the property would not need the railroad lease.
This will reduce the number of residences from 12 to 10, so the development will need to go through the administrative plat process. The board gave direction that this would be acceptable.
• The trustees discussed the process for purchasing a fence in Kaibab Park, which the town was supposed to build when it bought a small section of land from the railroad company 10 years ago. The town budgeted $20,000 for the fence this year, but the estimated cost has gone up by another $21,000 due to construction costs and an added section that staff initially overlooked.
Trustees indicated that they’d be willing to dip into a supplemental budget to get the fence constructed. Staff will come back with a number of options for the purchase.
• The board approved an ordinance officially establishing a west service area for water, which will serve River Run RV Resort and Smith Creek Crossing, both owned by Sun Communities. Sun Communities has yet to submit its water treatment plant for initial acceptance, but creating the service area will allow the town to set rates and have an enterprise fund once the business turns over the facility.
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