Protecting the County’s Short Term Rental Code

With the swearing in of new Commissioner Shon Smith, there is growing pressure to weaken the County’s Short-Term Rental (STR) code. This code was adopted after more than two years of public hearings, hundreds of comment letters from residents, and the work of a Task Force set up to find a compromise between residents and owners of STRs.

RC3 has submitted a letter to the Board of County Commissioners detailing the reasons why opening the code for review would be an untimely action. First, there is on-going litigation that must be completed before any modification to the code is considered. So far, the ordinance has held up to legal scrutiny. Second, the County should conduct an evaluation of the effectiveness and impact of the code to determine whether its goals have been met. Third, information must be provided to the public about the effectiveness of enforcement of the code and how complaints from residents have been handled. Finally, a permit register containing both the STR applications and the permits needs to be made available to the public so there is transparency about how the code is being applied.

We hope that our comments will be taken seriously. The County’s code was adopted after a very contentious process. The final code, while far from ideal, represents a fair compromise. All parties had adequate opportunities to make their arguments. The code should be in place for at least two or three years before it is evaluated, and then decisions can be made about whether anything needs fixing.