Letter: Short-term rental impact substantial and negative
I have been a residence owner in the Sunnyshore Park Subdivision for 24 years, the last eight a full-time registered voter in Grand County. Until last year when short-term rentals moved in, this legacy community was a congenial, family oriented, quiet, safe and peaceful place to live. It was those qualities that led to all the homeowners to purchase here — until recently, that is. The impact on our community of the STR incursion has been substantial (and negative) on all these desirable qualities. I have attended the three Board of County Commissioner’s Workshops on STR’s this year, and listened to residents of other Grand County communities tell similar (and in some cases worse) stories.
Although the County has made progress in identifying non-permitted STR units and the real cost to the county of STR operations, there remains a large associated cost structure (management, law enforcement, roads, housing, emergency response, etc) still to be identified and quantified. The effect on county taxpayers is decidedly negative, and is substantial. The arguments from STR owners and STR Property Managers that this activity brings tourists and tax income to the county, and raises everyone’s property values, is laughable. There is no evidence that the associated costs are covered by this supposed increase in tax revenue (not to mention that the STR revenue is likely pirated from other Tax based lodging interests in the county meaning no net benefit), and I am certain that the vast majority of homeowners who plan to reside here full or part time just love paying higher property taxes each year to support the STR owners!
It’s time for Grand County to get “real.” There are approximately 11,800 registered voters in Grand County, and at the published County average of 2.5 persons per households, this translates to 4,720 residences with voting rights. County officials now report that there are at least 800 STR’s, either properly permitted or not, meaning that 83 percent of the voting population is paying to support the profit making activities (and the negative effects) of only 17 percent. This imbalance is likely much higher, as many if not a majority of the 17 percent STR owners are not residents (for voting) in the County. It’s time for the county to put the issue of whether or not the voters of Grand County want short-term rentals here.
Tim Ziebarth, Granby
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