Long-term rentals add to robust community
Crested Butte’s policy of giving water and sewer tap fee discounts to owners of long-term rental units in town such as accessory dwellings appears to be paying off. According to a staff report given to the Town Council last Monday, there is a “face value” 87 percent occupancy rate for such dwellings.
Crested Butte building assistant Phillip Supino conducted the study and inventory. “After some serious hair-pulling, the 2008 Affordable Housing Occupancy Study is coming into view,” he wrote. “Currently, out of 89 units included in the survey, 77 units are under long-term rental agreements. There are five confirmed vacant units, 3 owner occupied units and 8 non-responsive property owners whose rental information we are not yet able to obtain. I will be working with the Town Attorney to pursue the information from these property owners.”
Crested Butte Building and Zoning director Bob Gillie told the council that “in spite of the fact not every unit is being rented, it is a good program and is being used in the community.”
Under town regulations, long-term deed-restricted affordable housing rentals get a 66 percent reduction in the tap fees in return for renting the units. That shortfall is made up from the town’s affordable housing fund.
Supino said while the 87 percent number looks good and it is clear that the program effectively provides affordable rental housing in town, “There is most likely a certain degree of B.S. in the survey results, as it is clear that more than 5 accessory dwellings in town are not available for long-term rental,” he wrote in his report. “It is natural to assume that property owners flying below the affordable housing radar may not be as straight-forward with the town as one would hope. So, including a 20 percent fudge factor, the occupancy rate is still 67 percent.”
His recommendation is to have the town continue to support the program since “There are good opportunities for young residents (like myself) to live in town rather than Mt. Crested Butte or CB South.”
Supino points out that having more people living inside the town boundaries saves on commuting and adds to the Crested Butte tax base and robust feel of the community. He pointed out that local EMTs, disc jockeys and town councilmen live in such housing.
“We just need to remind people they got a break and we’d like them to rent the units,” stated Mayor Alan Bernholtz.
“It’s a lot about awareness,” said Gillie.
The council was all for continuing the program to get more long-term rentals in town.