Winter Park makes plans for the future, approves special election for lodging tax

Charley Sutherland
Special for Sky-Hi News
The Town of Winter Park adopted a five-year-vision at its July 18 meeting. The town council also unanimously authorized a special election on Nov.7 for voters to decide whether or not the town should increase its lodging tax to fund affordable housing.
Town of Winter Park/Courtesy photo

Winter Park’s town council adopted a five-year vision for the town and priorities for 2023-24 at their July 18 regular meeting. On May 23, the town council held its annual retreat and crafted these priorities.

Connecting the town of Winter Park to Winter Park Resort has been a long-standing goal for the town. Connections include a gondola and a ski/bike back trail. Skiers or mountain bikers would take the gondola from town to the resort and utilize trails to return to the gondola terminal.

In October 2022, Winter Park’s Town Council passed a series of ordinances to annex and rezone Cooper Creek Village, a 50-acre parcel of land adjacent to the site for the proposed gondola terminal.

Sky-Hi News Archive photo

In five years Winter Park’s town council hopes to have plans to finance and construct the gondola between downtown Winter Park and the resort.

Town council’s five-year vision also includes the construction of a police facility in Winter Park and acquiring Denver Water’s property at the end of Vasquez Road for trailheads.

Winter Park Town Council’s first priority for 2023-24 is advancing housing projects within Winter Park and the Fraser Valley.

The town’s efforts to address affordable housing are well underway. The town council has already begun consideration of fees on short-term rental owners and an increased lodging tax to fund affordable housing projects.

Town council also has plans to advance mental health initiatives, create a Regional Transit Authority and bring back community engagement events like Mary Jane Days.

Council members unanimously approved both the five-year vision and the 2023-24 town council priorities.

Lodging Tax Special Election

Winter Park’s short-term rental advisory committee made recommendations to the town council in May to fund affordable housing projects. The committee recommended an impact fee on short-term rental owners and a 2% increase to the town’s lodging tax, a tax on hotel visitors.

The advisory committee recommended a $400 per bedroom fee, which the council rejected and deemed insufficient in meeting affordable housing goals.

The town’s lodging tax is currently at 1% so a 2% increase means a 3% lodging tax. Town council estimates the 3% lodging tax will generate $1.2 million dollars annually to fund the town’s affordable housing projects.

The town council approved resolution 2071 at their July 18 regular meeting. The resolution authorizes a special election for Nov. 7 to allow voters to decide on the increased lodging tax.

Additionally, the resolution approves an intergovernmental agreement that permits the Town of Winter Park to coordinate with Grand County on the Nov. 7 special election.

The town council unanimously approved resolution 2071. The lodging tax special election will be held in conjunction with the statewide election.

Other business:

  • The town council amended the town code to allow fermented malt beverage and wine retailers to conduct onsite alcoholic beverage tastings.
  • Council members granted Don Dany Mexican Grill and Bar their liquor license.
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