A group of 101 homeowners in Summit County, Colo., filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court to overturn regulations on short-term rentals (STRs) that they allege are excessive and based on "fabricated" justifications by county commissioners, including claims that the rentals deprive the county of local workforce housing. The commissioners rezoned areas to identify neighborhoods where renting to vacationers should be limited while focusing STRs in zones closer to ski areas and resort-town downtowns. In fall 2021, they instituted a limit of 135 rental nights for owners of homes in neighborhood zones before adding tougher rules a month later. Last year the commissioners declared a pause on new short-term rental licenses and earlier this year imposed caps on licenses that are below the number of existing permits in several areas; the latest rules restrict rentals to 35 nights for nonresident owners in neighborhood zones. A 2022 study from Airbnb indicated that home-renting vacationers spend $1 billion annually in Eagle, Grand, Pitkin, Routt, and Summit counties and support 14,700 jobs. It also suggested the lack of workforce housing in Colorado's mountain towns was not related to increased STR numbers, noting local workers could not afford homes and rental costs. The suing homeowners are members of the nonprofit Summit County Resort Homes Inc., and plaintiff Todd Ruelle said the group is compiling data — including lodging tax revenue reports — that will prove the regulations have slowed the region's tourist-based economy.
Colorado Sun (08/17/23) Jason Blevins