Winter Park one step closer to licensing short-term rentals
It seems likely that come October short-term rentals in Winter Park will be required to register and pay for an annual license, in addition to complying with other new rules, after they received initial approval from town council.
On Tuesday, an ordinance regulating short-term rentals passed the first reading and is scheduled for final approval and a public hearing on March 16.
In an effort to better address the impacts of short-term rentals, the approved ordinance outlines new responsibilities for owners of the popular form of lodging. On top of annual licensing, short-term rentals must designate a 24/7 responsible agent to respond to concerns, include certain information in advertisements, not offer on-street overnight parking and comply with health and safety requirements.
Most of all, owners must provide their guests with the information about town regulations regarding rentals.
“We really view this as an opportunity for first-time visitors or even regular visitors to come into the unit and have some communication in terms of the basic expectations of being a good neighbor and a good visitor,” Assistant Town Manager Alisha Janes said.
The registration period for short-term rentals will start in October and the process will require the rentals to certify compliance with safety protocols and town regulations including parking, noise, garbage disposal, open burning and drought mitigation.
A proposed fee for the annual license is $150, but town council will be voting on the fee separately from the approved ordinance.
Rentals must have a responsible agent, either an individual or property management group, that is available at any time to respond within an hour to concerns or complaints. When advertising, rentals must list the license number, as well as the number of on-site parking spaces available.
Should units not comply with the requirements, the ordinance also gives the town the ability to fine owners up to $1,000 and prohibit the units from getting a license for a two-year period.
For larger rentals that can house over 20 people, the ordinance requires the owner to get a special use permit through the Planning and Zoning Committee.
In other business:
• Winter Park is moving forward with Saunders Construction out of Englewood as the general contractor for the new transit maintenance facility, with work expected to begin in August. Saunders Construction recently completed the Jim Myers Public Works Facility in Winter Park. The transit department also received approval for a new voice announcement system for the Lift buses.
• An agreement with Rendezvous for the event center at Hideaway Park was amended to defer the development’s 2020 principal payment of $250,000 to 2028 due to the lack of events during the pandemic.
• Town staff received approval to apply for an Open Lands, Rivers and Trails grant from the county for purchasing a portion of the land the Fraser River Trail is on to maintain public access.
• Council passed a proportional cost-sharing agreement with the Roam development for improvements along Vasquez Road.
• The Emergency Business Assistance fund was seeded with $50,000 for assisting businesses named in county public health orders or reimbursing businesses for complying with increased restrictions from the Grandstar program or health orders. Council member Rebecca Kaufman abstained from the vote.
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