The Summit Daily News reported on the Summit County Commissioners work session on October 18, 2022. Don’t let the headline fool you, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) did NOT make any decisions on STR regulations.

It is clear that the BOCC will put percentage caps on STRs in unincorporated Summit County neighborhood zones. It also seems likely that different areas will get different percentage caps. Until this work session, the public didn’t have any indication as to what the caps would be and whether they would be more or less restrictive than the existing licenses issued. Unfortunately, for the STR and private property rights community, it looks like Summit County may be placing some tight percentage caps on the areas they govern, if they listen to the four Planning Commissions covering the areas in Summit County.

Four Basin Areas

Within Summit County, there are four areas called Basins. Each Basin has a Planning Commission. You can see the Basins on the map below. The Basins have been meeting and discussing this topic and have provided some recommendations to the BOCC. As the Summit Daily News article states, the Basins are recommending dramatic tightening of STR numbers.

summit county basin locator map

The Ten Mile Basin, which includes Frisco, suggested that STR licenses be cut in half. There are only 36 licenses in this Basin now (this excludes Copper Mountain since it is a Resort Zone), which are likely all in the Frisco area such as Bills Ranch, Frisco Heights, Evergreen Sub, Wiborg Sub, etc. That would bring the available licenses to 19, or 6% of the total properties.

The Upper Blue Basin, which is the Breckenridge and Blue River area, recommended that STR licenses be capped at 12.5%. Right now they have 25% of their properties with STR licenses. This includes the Peak 7 neighborhood, Alpine Breck, Northstar, Farmers Corner, and Tiger Road areas, including others. If adopted, this would mean that the 809 licenses would need to get down to 409 licenses. Then, there would likely be a wait list when the number gets down to 408. Similar to the Breckenridge Zone 3 zoning, we wouldn’t see available STR licenses for likely, decades.

The Lower Blue Basin didn’t reach consensus on their recommendation. This area covers Silverthorne and Wildernest. This group suggested that the Wildernest neighborhood, which is currently at 27% STRs, be reduced to 15% STRs. Again, this would mean that anyone wanting to get a STR license in Wildernest would be waiting for years to obtain one. Another suggestion was just to put a cap on the whole Basin and not single out Wildernest. They also suggested strict caps on the other areas they govern, mostly north of Silverthorne, to try to get the Basin to an 11% cap.

The Snake River Basin, also didn’t reach consensus on a number but agreed that they wanted at least a 20% reduction in STRs. This Basin even suggested having ZERO STRs. This area covers Dillon Valley and Summit Cove. There are 257 STRs right now in that Basin. A 20% reduction would mean 50 less STRs. Going down to zero, is obviously never issuing another STR license and intentionally forcing this Basin to only accommodate full time occupants and second home owners who do not rent.

The BOCC considered this information and stated that they don’t know the “right” number yet. They are looking for a better methodology to choose a number, but does that even exist? Jessica Potter, a planner for the County, pointed out that there probably isn’t going to be a perfect way to decide the appropriate numbers.

What Are the Impacts of the Caps on Summit County?

As I write this, I want to say, “What the heck are you thinking???!!!” If the BOCC does decide to choose caps below existing numbers, we are going to see even more downward pricing pressure on these areas and longer days on the market. Additionally, by decreasing the amount of available STRs, we are reducing tourist dollars and having properties sit vacant.

What can you do? You can always provide your feedback to the BOCC.

Right now, all three commissioners are intent on passing STR restrictions. Commissioner Lawrence is up for reelection in November. Her opponent, Allen Bacher, believes that STR restrictions are unconstitutional.

While Republicans don’t often stand a chance of winning in Summit County, if Bacher wins, he would work to change the direction of this freight train.

The work sessions are not recorded, but meeting minutes from October 18 can be viewed here.

As always, stay tuned for more information on my Blog, along with my commentary!


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