The Denver Post

2,869 short-term rentals operating inside the city

- By Dylan Anderson

The company working on the enforcemen­t of new short-term rental regulation­s has identified 2,869 such rentals within Steamboat Springs that advertised in more than 6,100 different online postings.

The company, Granicus, is still looking for more short-term rental advertisem­ents as they are posted, but the number is relatively close to what City Council expected it to be when regulation­s were drafted last year.

Licensing is the next step in the process, and city Planning Director Rebecca Bessey told council on Tuesday that the licensing process should be rolling out soon, though she didn’t have an official date.

“I really wish I could have been here with a big, bold date for you,” Bessey said. “But I want to get the public outreach materials done first, and I want to roll this out the right way. So just a little more patience, but we’re very close.”

Bessey told City Council the short-term rental complaint hotline is also close to rolling out, but it’s not quite done yet. She said earlier this month that she expected the hotline to be available by the end of February.

The hotline won’t roll out with all the capabiliti­es it is expected to eventually have because the city doesn’t have the ability to contact short-term rental operators with complaints until the operators are licensed. Granicus is currently finishing up work to alter the hotline programmin­g to remove the option to contact the operator.

When licensing is in place — council moved the deadline to April 30 — Bessey said she didn’t think switching things back would cause any delay.

“I’ve been checking in with them on a regular basis, and they have assured me that they should be done very soon,” Bessey said. “When we’re ready to go live with that, we’ll have informatio­n on the website.”

Bessey said Granicus has recommende­d reaching out to property managers directly so they are familiar with the hotline and don’t ignore an early morning call about a complaint.

Since the overlay zones were put in place, the city has approved 169 legal nonconform­ing status applicatio­ns and another 84 are still pending. These come into play where a short-term rental is in a red or yellow zone, which either forbids or restricts the number allowed in that zone.

Just five applicatio­ns have been denied, Bessey said. In each of those cases, they were singlefami­ly homes or duplexes operating without a vacation home rental permit, which is illegal. Because they were not operating legally, Bessey said, the city couldn’t grant the properties legal nonconform­ing status.

Another 45 applicatio­ns were withdrawn, but Bessey said many of these were duplicate applicatio­ns. While getting the licensing in place and the hotline up and running have been high priorities, Bessey said the city has also been focused on enforcemen­t. Since October 2021, when city staff started working with Granicus, there have been 19 cases where a short-term rental was not operating with proper permitting under the old code.

Of those, 15 cases led to a plea deal, one led to a two-year ban, two were dismissed because the city was unable to serve the rental owner and the last one is still pending. City Attorney Dan Foote said there has been a problem with serving two of the owners because they are owned by out- of- state businesses, which can’t be issued an arrest warrant for failing to appear in municipal court.

“We’re kicking around some ideas as to things we can do to change the code to allow us to get to those situations,” Foote said. “As of now, there are a couple where the judge was not satisfied with what we were able to do.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States