No STR moratorium expected as Grand looks at tightening regulations
Grand County commissioners are no longer considering a moratorium on short-term rentals, but updates are likely coming to the code to improve compliance.
At Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners heard an update from County Planner Taylor Schlueter about the most recent STR data for the county. As of Tuesday morning, there were 538 compliant rentals in unincorporated Grand County and 413 noncompliant.
Short-term rentals are required to obtain a permit annually and pay a $25 per person fee based on the unit’s capacity.
Commissioners previously discussed the STR noncompliance issue in late July and were mulling a moratorium on new licenses while the county examined its short-term rental policies. On Tuesday, the board unanimously agreed that a moratorium was not necessary.
The county may have backed off the moratorium, but work is still in progress to increase enforcement and address other concerns about STRs.
A group composed of county staff, representatives from property management companies, concerned neighbors, and representatives from the various county fire departments has been discussing what updates the county needs in regards to regulating STRs.
“There’s a lot of ideas coming out and we’re not quite ready to finalize any of the ideas yet,” Community Development Director Robert Davis said.
However, the group has outlined three long-term goals related to STRs.
- Increase short-term rentals’ registration compliance to least 90% in unincorporated Grand County by the end of the year.
- Engage in a countywide nexus study to define the effects short-term rental saturation is having on the community.
- Develop a process and expectations for safety compliance by establishing requirements for short-term rental inspections and incorporating proof of inspection into the licensing process.
When this topic was initially raised, less than half of STRs in unincorporated Grand County were compliant. Since July 27, the county has received 216 additional applications for STR licenses. Of those, 158 were renewals while 58 were new.
As of Tuesday, roughly 56% of STRs are compliant, and county staff hopes that additional awareness will bring even more properties into compliance. This influx of applications has also raised an additional $47,000, according to Davis.
There was also some discussion Tuesday about improving the notification system for noncompliant STRs. Host Compliance, the company that monitor’s the county’s STRs, was expected to begin sending out more letters immediately.
As for studying STR impacts, the county manager said he has been in contact with Breckenridge about a similar effort. Grand County might mirror that methodology.
“Basically it’s to answer the assumption that we all have in our guts, that we all pretty much believe: Is there a relationship between the increasing number of short-term rentals and the reducing amount of housing supplies?” Davis said.
The scope of the study has not yet been defined, and more discussion is expected before it begins.
The third goal relates to safety requirements and how enforcers can better ensure that STRs are following guidelines, such as having working smoke alarms and proper signage. To absorb the cost of that extra enforcement, fees will probably increase.
“We are more than likely going to make some kind of recommendation, but we’re not clear what kind of fee increase,” Davis said.
County staff wants to begin addressing some of the issues with new regulations, which must be done through a public hearing process. Commissioners scheduled the hearing to amend short-term rental regulations for 2 p.m. Sept. 21.
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