Short-term rental editorial yields response from County Commissioners

On Thursday, Nov. 17, Estes Park Trail-Gazette’s Publisher Michael Romero published an opinion editorial(op-ed) regarding concerns over proposed regulations on short-term rentals within the Estes Valley released by Larimer County on Oct. 27.

This extensive list of regulations, including land-use code changes, occupancy rate standards and transferability guidelines, has caused a heavy amount of feedback from short-term rental owners in opposition. These owners have expressed much fear that these regulations would limit their ownership ability and possibly diminish STRs in the Estes Valley. Moreover, urging that the process of administering them would be too rapid.

Romero’s editorial shared these expressed beliefs, focusing primarily on the fear that these regulations would severely limit revenue contributed from the lodging tax extension passed on Nov. 8.

As the new lodging tax extension would contribute to much-needed workforce housing and childcare improvements in the Estes Valley, Romero explained that these new regulations would extensively reduce the lodging tax extension revenue.

Due to these regulations holding this potential to reduce revenue for a much-needed economically-based area in the Estes Valley, Romero called for Estes Valley residents to contact Larimer County Commissioners and express similar concerns.

Subsequent to this editorial, Romero reached out to county commissioners for responses over the matter.

Commissioner Jodi Shadduck-McNally answered Romero’s outreach with a rather lengthy response. Having authored a letter to the editor supporting the lodging tax extension, Shadduck-McNally explained that she stands by the promotional article and the hours of involvement she invested in supporting the initiative.

In the reasoning for the new regulations, Shadduck-McNally explained that the county re-evaluates regulations to better suit a changing home-sharing and rental industry atmosphere.

“The County understands that short-term rentals lead to advantages and challenges,” said Shadduck-McNally. “While STRs provide some increased revenues and options for visitors and owners, Larimer communities are hearing increasing levels of complaints from neighbors about traffic, noise, trespassing, public safety and growing concerns about commercial uses in residential neighborhoods.”

As a part of the public hearing platform process – Shadduck-McNally stressed the ongoing work that the community development staff has put into assuring the regulation administering process is open and publicly inclusive. This work includes increased amounts of public hearings and gathered input taken into account in order to revise the regulations.

“Adjustments have been made to the timeline to respect the requests made by the Estes STR owners and EVSTRA coordinated group,” said Shadduck-McNally. “I believe we need to give the same amount of opportunity to local residents who are not STR owners who have concerns. Our community development staff have been transparent and responsive about the process and about any proposed changes that may be adopted in 2023.”

In another commissioner response to Romero’s outreach, John Kefalas touched on a majority of the same points as Shadduck-McNally.

“We have extended the public comment period till December 14th based on the level of interest and feedback from folks in the Estes Valley,” said Kefalas. “As commissioners, we are reading the emails received, and this input helps us to make informed and balanced decisions when the time comes in 2023 to adopt any new STR regulations and guidelines. Our community development staff has been transparent and responsive about the process and any proposed changes that may be adopted.”

While both of these responses elaborate on the amount of public collaboration the county is undergoing in order to make informed and balanced decisions, no current revisions to the regulations have been made to show public comment has been taken into consideration. Members of Estes Valley’s short-term rental community will need to wait for these revisions in order to ensure their voices have been heard and the transparency throughout the process legitimate.

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About Pep Dekekr

Pep loves Estes Park, he lives here with his family and hopes to bring people to Estes Park and Estes Park to the people. Along with his wife Paige, they own

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