Winter Park takes first step to regulate STRs
Winter Park is likely one of the last remaining ski towns in Colorado with few regulations of short-term rental properties. However, that may soon change following a town council workshop on the topic.
On Tuesday, the Winter Park Town Council discussed the current short-term rental situation and how it’s impacting the town before outlining what information the town needs to research and gather before policy is decided.
“This is the first time we’ve really had this discussion and we’re very much in the information gathering stage, very preliminary,” said council member Nick Kutrumbos.
Ultimately, Winter Park plans to create a working group of stakeholders who will help outline the town’s current short-term rental situation and guide any future regulations.
Some of the stakeholders identified by the council include short-term rental owners, property managers, hotel or lodging owners, realtors, residents, business owners and the resort.
“I would certainly like to continue having these conversations with the community because every decision we make is going to have an effect,” Kutrumbos said.
The discussion also outlined some of the major questions council would like to answer before taking action, including figuring out the total number of short-term rentals and how to track and tax them.
Right now, the town currently only requires short-term rentals to have a business license, but has a hard time identifying short-term rentals and enforcing taxes or regulations, said Lizbeth Lemley, finance director for Winter Park.
“Making sure they have a license and seeing that they’re filing (taxes) doesn’t necessarily mean they’re filing the correct amount or timely,” Lemley said. “We do know that we’ve got some properties that are noncompliant. … The fact is, making the identification without registration requirements is where it gets really difficult.”
The town estimates there are 710 active short-term rentals in town and only 249 are managed by property management companies.
Other questions the council pondered are the impacts to the town’s services, such as the police department and trash collection, the impact to workforce or affordable housing and impacts to quality of life.
“What is the impact of short-term rentals currently on the state of affairs on our community, that’s where I get a lot of questions,” said Mayor Jimmy Lahrman.
In order to begin answering some of the questions posed during discussion, the town is working to formalize an application process for the working group, which will likely require interested people to submit a letter of interest.
The council asked for the discussion to be continued to its second meeting in February to give the group time to gather the requested information.
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