Monday, September 26, 2011

Grand County, CO - new codes address nightly rentals

Tonya Bina

Those who rent out their homes to vacationers in unincorporated Grand County may be subjected to paying a $20 annual registration fee to the county.

During a “Short Term Rental Regulation” hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 20, commissioners opted to allow nightly rentals in all zones of the county, subject to a list of supplemental regulations in the zoning codes on top of an annual registration with the county.

Commissioner James Newberry made the motion to add in a registration component so the county may keep “better track” of those renting out their homes short-term — which some neighbors complain amounts to commercial businesses in otherwise quiet neighborhoods.

The registration will aid the county in checking whether homeowners are paying sales taxes and are in compliance, Newberry said. If found not to be, the county has the ability to turn names over to the state for state audits, according to County Clerk and Recorder Sara Rosene.

And for violations to the zoning code — with new regulations addressing trash, parking, noise, snow storage and the like — the newly adopted zoning amendments call for a $500 penalty against the owner for the second violation, and for the third, introduction to the court system.

Why should the county be “apologetic” for charging a fee? asked Sue Bennett, of Kremmling during the hearing. “You're allowing a privilege, allowing a use that has not been allowed before. ... My question is, without a registration, how could you possibly enforce much of this?” she asked.

Commissioner Gary Bumgarner voted against the registration factor for his unwillingness to “grow government.”

But Newberry said the registration fee should cover any extra work the program brings to county staff.

Former longtime rental manager Diane Butler guessed there are about 3,500 to 5,000 short-term rental units in the county; and at a previous meeting on the matter, rental managers guessed there are about 20,000 beds in the county.


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