Also planning for more affordable housing
By Katherine Nettles
The Mt. Crested Butte Town Council has set out to look at short-term rentals in 2019, and to consider what is working well with the town of Crested Butte and other Colorado towns as a basis for its own possible routes to regulate and limit such rentals.
The council hosted Crested Butte Community Development director Michael Yerman for a work session on April 2 to discuss what it might look like to regulate short-term rentals and possibly create a revenue stream for affordable housing in the process. Yerman shared lessons learned from his experience with Crested Butte, including parking, trash management, licensing, noise and nuisance complaints and inspections.
“We have a slightly different scenario than the town of Crested Butte,” noted council member Roman Kolodziej at the outset of the process in January.
The town of Mt. Crested Butte has approximately 850 short-term rental units, while Crested Butte has around 200. Mt. Crested Butte currently has no program that allows the town to inspect these units. The issues the council wanted to address were centered on parking, licensing, inspections, and tracking software to aid in all the other aspects.
Yerman suggested implementing a dedicated phone line for short-term rental issues, and requiring that property owners have a local point of contact who can respond within 15 minutes should a need arise. Yerman recommended the town establish a percentage limit, such as the 30 percent cap as in Crested Butte, and said that Crested Butte does not allow licenses to transfer with a sale for a property.
Yerman discussed that managing the short-term rental market in Mt. Crested Butte would be more expensive, considering the volume difference.
“You guys have a lot more [short-term rentals] so you might need another inspector,” he said.
Yerman said the market has changed quickly and continues to do so.
“In the last five years, short-term rentals are a completely new thing for the economy. We see a lot of influence from Denver and Boulder. People see it as an investment property, where they want to visit a couple weeks in the winter, a couple weeks in the summer, and see that the short-term rentals can help pay off the mortgage,” said Yerman.
He said an excise tax on those properties has been good for the town, and it doesn’t apply to any commercial property, such as inns or hotels.
Another aspect of the work session was a discussion of affordable housing, also a priority for the Mt. Crested Butte council in 2019. In consideration of a possible deed restriction purchase program, Yerman described a long-term rental incentivizing program in Vail that Crested Butte is considering.
“Vail has had great success with purchasing a deed restriction. It has to be either owner-occupied or long-term [rented], and they have acquired almost 200,” he said. This has been helpful for condo owners who sometimes get hit with HOA assessments they cannot afford.
“So that’s a great time to pay them for the deed restriction and then people can stay in their homes,” he said. On June 17, a speaker from Vail will give a presentation to the Crested Butte Town Council from 5 to 7 p.m. on how the program works in that valley. The Mt. Crested Butte council will hold a work session April 16 to discuss affordable housing more.