At Tuesday night’s meeting, Police chief Jim Kraker and code enforcement officer Rich Carlson conducted a workshop on the new Short-Term Rental (STR) code the board approved on August 27.

“With the passage of the STR code in August, we wanted a chance to go over expectations,” said chief Kraker. 

Town manager Aaron Blair clarified the application process. All properties registered as STRs must also have a current sales tax license and proof of insurance. As the applications come in, they will be assigned to appropriate staff members in the Finance and Clerk’s office for processing. A one-time application fee of $100 applies to each STR, plus annual permit fees of $200 for a studio or 1 bedroom; $300 for 2 bedrooms; and, $400 for 3 or more bedrooms. 

Blair told the trustees he planned to include notice of the new STR code in the town’s water bills and will also post notice on the website, the notice board at Town Hall and through social media. 

Chief Kraker suggested working with the county’s GIS, adding properties registered as STRs to the database. This would allow Carlson the ability to access the information most efficiently.

Trustee Natascha O’Flaherty asked, “How do you track multiple complaints/repeat offenders?”

Carlson replied, “On my system, I am allowed to go in and add, flag and remove codes.” He said he had just uploaded the STR code that day. “Getting to where they get recorded, I can pull by name, address, street, region – whatever you want to do, I can program it.”  

Chief Kraker added, “Looking at the permit system, the name of the property owner and address would be included.”

“We wouldn’t want prior owner’s offenses to carryover to a new owner,” said trustee O’Flaherty.

Chief Kraker affirmed it would be a dual system. Officer Carlson also offered to show the trustees how the record management system works.

As for inspections, chief Kraker told the trustees the fire department would address that with them. “This is a business. It does work to have some pre-inspection.”

“We want feedback. Some will be trial and error. It took a long time to develop the code,” said chief Kraker. “We are going to have growing pains. Differentiating between what is a police manner vs. a code enforcement issue.” He noted that they are not looking to use third offenses, which are subject to $1000 fine and/or revocation of permit. Code violation is a criminal offense. “Looking at it, and discussing with Rich, it could be both. We will have to be careful about charging double.”

Mayor Paul Chavoustie asked, “Is the slate wiped clean after a year?”

Manager Blair stated it was, annually, and trustee O’Flaherty confirmed they had agreed on a rolling 12 month basis.

“I feel we can solve some of the problems,” said chief Kraker. “It doesn’t solve the unsettling aspect of having different neighbors every night.”

Complaints will be received via the town’s dispatch phone number, which is equipped for both non-emergent and emergent calls.

“What do you do about the chronic complainer?” asked trustee Nick Raible.

“It justifies the case if it is founded,” said chief Kraker. “If unfounded and it continues, it is documented. It can turn into false reporting, obstruction or harassment, but it has to be vetted through investigation. It needs to be documented as such, and the only way to do that is to go into it as an investigation.”

STR code violators will receive a warning at the first offense; a $500 fine for a second; and, as mentioned above, a third offense will result in a $1000 fine and/or revocation of the permit.

Chief Kraker reiterated the importance of good communication about the new code. “We had a good summer, with less complaints than normal,” he reported. 

Mayor Chavoustie observed that more and more STRs are using professional management companies to manage their rentals, resulting in less complaints. “It’s much better and much less hassle.”

Noting this will be a learning process, chief Kraker recommended adding in terms of what is posted in STR advertisements. He told the trustees the department gets a lot of calls on rental properties. “It has to be posted with their address,” he urged. He also asked that door/alarm codes be provided, so the department can assist renters when they cannot turn the alarm off.

Trustee Josh Hardy suggested, “It might be worth reaching out to realtors, to let them know that proposed sales must go through the process.”

Manager Blair told the trustees the draft STR application would be available at the next meeting.

Granby Public Art Committee (PAC) members appointed

Following the workshop, the trustees moved directly to appointing the seven members of the newly created Public Art Committee. 

Before the vote, several more PAC candidates addressed the board to make introduction.  

John Henley said he had been a sculptor, artist and fabricator for about 20 years. He had taken a 6-8 year hiatus and started back up about 5 years ago. His home features a studio and sculpture garden and he is looking to host some shows and events there.  

“It has been proven time and again, with a devotion to the arts comes money. It may not result in retail sales for artists, but it brings patrons. With the murals, no one can deny it has slowed people down 2-5 miles an hour on Agate.” Henley added, “I have a very full schedule, but would like to bring some of my experiences to the community.” Long term, he said he would like to have a co-op Gallery in Granby. “Steamboat has one, and 16 people participate. The average retail sale is close to $2,200. It is possible to do this in a mountain town. I’d like to try to help.”

Justin McGuan told the trustees, “I think Granby is moving in a good direction. I just got appointed to the school board, so I am not sure how much time i can put into it.”

Hopper Becker said, “I am presently a knifemaker. The reason I want to participate is that I have lived in Granby quite a while now. I love Granby. I enjoy the laid back atmosphere and quietness. I really enjoy the growth and I want to help facilitate moving forward.” Becker added, “Opinions are ike junk drawers. We all have them and they are all messes. We need to be representative of the whole populace, the organization needs to serve all people and be non-confrontational, and do something good for all people. That’s a little about me and why I want to serve. I am happy to be here.”

Autumn Bishop said, “I feel honored to participate, near and dear to my heart, and lay the groundwork to make positive contributions to the community.” Bishop outlined her thoughts on PAC development which included getting to know fellow committee members, defining the mission and developing bylaws. “Begin with the end in mind is key to success.” It would also be important to draw from other art committee experiences to learn what works and best practices. Identifying projects and diligently documenting learning for benefit in the future. Brainstorming with PAC members and community stakeholders, making a list of donors and grants would be part of the process, and finally, presenting their recommendations to the board for questions and approval.

After the candidates had spoken, town clerk Deb Hess handed each trustee a list of the candidates and asked that they select their top seven candidates.

Trustee O’Flaherty addressed all the candidates, saying, “Regardless of the outcome, if you are not on the initial committee, we thank you for showing an interest in art.”

Upon tallying the initial votes, clerk Hess deemed that a run-off was necessary for the final 2 committee members, so she distributed another round of ballots to the trustees.

When the voting was completed, she announced the names of the new PAC members: Hopper Becker, Autumn Bishop, Deb Brynoff, Sarah Cichon, John Henley, Justin McGuan and Sarah Villa.

The PAC will meet in the next few weeks to share ideas and prepare a 2020 budget.

To learn more, visit townofgranby.com.