Short-term Rental Workshop

On November 13th, prior to the Board of Trustees meeting, Town Manager, Aaron Blair, held a workshop on short-term rentals. The workshop was also well attended by citizens interested in the learning more about the town’s progress on the subject and to give feedback.

Currently, the town of Granby does not regulate the increasingly popular short-term rentals. “We are not trying to over-regulate short-term rentals”, said Blair. “We are trying to find a balance.”  

Blair told attendees that he had received several emails with suggestions, including a 9 page email from property manager, RMG. Most concerns expressed were related to occupancy and permit fees.

Using input from the emails and community, and, language from the county’s regulations, Blair created an updated, working draft for the trustees and residents to review. “Something should be put in place and it is up to us to ensure it is fair and equitable”, said Blair.

The draft outlined the the definition of a short-term rental and outlined the application process. The fees proposed in the current draft include a one-time application fee of $150, and, annual fees based upon total number of bedrooms. As proposed, studios and one bedroom units would pay $300; two bedroom units would pay $450; and, three or more bedroom units would pay $600 per year. The draft also outlines the rental criteria and requirements, defining finished living space, property liability insurance, zoning and other town code compliance.

Mayor Paul Chavoustie stated that he wanted to take some time on the subject. “Those with HOAs could make their own rules”, he said. “We don’t deny the economic benefit” of short-term rentals. The parking, trash, noise and pull on police services – a few are spoiling it for everyone. “We want to protect the integrity of our town and our neighborhoods.”

Sheila Bailey, a local real estate agent, talked about occupancy, saying the number of people is relative. “Not all three bedrooms are created equal – it’s different between homes”, said Bailey. Bailey told the trustees that 90% of her clients ask about short-term rental potential. “These people need to be able to make their payments.”

Mike Claney, owner of Resort Management Group (RMG) told the trustees “there are so many issues surrounding the short-term rental phenomena. In ten years, it has really grown”. He told the trustees and staff there are some key points to consider on the subject:

  1. Everyone should take their time. You need good balance for neighbors and community.
  2. The town should consider having tourist zones vs. residential zones. “Why not let HOA communities decide what to do?” He referenced that a Mountainside 1 BR unit sleeps up to 9 occupants. “It was built and approved that way since 1983”, said Claney. He added “We need to consider that side of the issue before deciding on these regulations – some areas are built for tourist capacity”.
  3. Professional Property Management helps extend good neighbor policies and educate renters on expected behavior.

Claney went on to say there is a tremendous amount of value in having short-term renters here. He encouraged the trustees to take their time and analyze all sides of the issue.

Blair told the trustees that the city of San Diego, California had just passed their short-term rental program. “It took ten years to where they felt comfortable passing this.”

April Hilton, resident, spoke to the trustees, saying she had been concerned with VRBO since 2007. “I’m concerned about the guest experience”, said Hilton. She said that there have to be rules for the renter in the home. “Signing up with a property management company will cost less in the end.”

Another attendee told the trustees that short-term rentals are being used as an alternative to lodging, making it an unfair playing field with hotels and other lodging developments. “When unregulated, they’re a concern”, he said, adding, “you can’t put nine people in a hotel room”. This makes it more challenging for the hotels.

The majority of short-term rentals are in the Granby Ranch development, a few in Grand Elk and three have been identified in the town of Granby.

In closing the workshop, Blair told attendees that he is very open to discussing regulation language with residents. “Nothing has been finalized and we continue to take input from interested parties.”

Trustees approve code amendments

During the regular meeting, Town Code Enforcement Officer, Rich Carlson, presented Ordinance 890, amending certain sections of Granby Municipal Code regulating overnight camping, snow removal and junked vehicles. Carlson proposed tightening the language, because they’re “not enforceable due to language being too vague”.   

Under Chapter 12.30 Overnight camping: Carlson proposed adding “in a 90 day period of time” to prevent campers from circumventing the camping regulations. Carlson told the trustees that he’s “unable to do anything, because some tenants will leave for a few days and then return”. The new language would allow a maximum of fourteen days within a 90-day period.

Under Chapter 12.20 Snow Removal: Carlson told the trustees there had already been several instances where vehicles/boats/campers have been parked in right of ways and alleyways. Last year, it caused accidents where the town was held responsible. “Something needs to be done during the snow plowing months November through May”, said Carlson. The proposed language defines impediments and obstructions that cause a hazard to snow plow operations, between 2 – 7 am, November 1st to May 1st. Penalties for violation would be $50 for the first offense, $75 for a second, and, $100 for a third.

Under Chapter 8.10 Junked and Abandoned Vehicles: Carlson told the trustees the code gives residents thirty days to clear their property of junked vehicles. Carlson said he had sent off certified letters, giving residents 15 days’ notice to comply and “nothing gets done – the letters sat in the post office for weeks”. Carlson proposed to get rid of the 15 day certified letter and stick with 30 days’ notice by first class mail.  He added that “over 100 vehicles have been removed, licensed and registered” since he’d started on the job. He clarified that “if it runs, it needs to be registered”. These changes allow him to have a discussion with property owners on any vehicle/RV/boat/snowmobile in violation of code. “Inoperable equipment is often junk and should be removed”, said Carlson. He also told the trustees that antique vehicles are defined as “1976 or older” and, “antique vehicles have special requirements regarding storage”.

Trustee Josh Hardy stated, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, I just don’t want to look at it. I think this is good – it gives us a little more bite to our bark.”

The trustees approved Ordinance 890 unanimously.

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