Letter: Moratorium on short-term rentals won’t solve county’s housing crisis

Letter to the editor

County commissioners, we urge you to adopt robust and fair regulations and taxes on short term rentals — revamping the county’s approach to the entire housing supply — while dispensing with any notion that a moratorium on short-term rentals provides any solution to real estate supply shortfalls or enforcement.

There are many, many superior policy alternatives to a moratorium.


▪ A moratorium will subsidize my client base, while ignoring the issues caused by poor zoning, poor zoning enforcement, inadequate taxation and a region wide history of (practically) ignoring the plight of employee housing.

▪ Enforcement and taxation compliance will be materially enhanced by requiring business registration of all cleaning suppliers. Tax thieves and poorly managed properties go hand-in hand — most retain unlicensed and uninsured cleaning professionals. If you require registration of all STR cleaning firms, and their properties’ 24/7 one-hour response contact, the scope of bad actors is severely decreased overnight.

▪ Continuing to “kick the employee housing crises down the road” will exacerbate the ills of short-term rentals. Federally subsidized rental properties (LHTC models, rent controlled ghettos) makes good press and an inadequate housing stock … and you’re always playing “catchup.” Without also promoting ownership, we have no community soul and severely inflated housing and services.

▪ Leverage the county’s railway system. Grand County harbors something unique to any resort community (in Colorado): a railroad. So, one blue-sky concept: if local governments would work together to dedicate the necessary land and water, why can’t we recruit a manufactured housing firm, marry it to a construction trades training program, and simultaneously leverage the creation of low-cost employee-built employee housing developments?

Such approaches, of course, take time and work and vision and dedication … unlike a moratorium.

— Mark Gibson, general manager and owner of Book by Owner of Winter Park & Grand County

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