Park County citizens opposed the cost of license fees for short term rentals at the final reading of Ordinance 21-01 “Park County Short-Term Rental Ordinance” and its adoption Feb. 16.
The county commissioners set the initial application fee at $605 and the annual renewal at $215.
Rick Chastain from Warm Springs subdivision said the fees are about 400 percent higher than Summit County’s fees and more than double Chaffee County’s.
Chastain said Summit County’s first year fee is $150 with $75 annual renewal. He said Chaffee’s are $250 for the first and $150 renewal.
He said Grand County’s is based on $25 per occupant and average around $160 and $118. He said Vail charges $150.
He asked the commissioners to consider lowering the fees that come on the heels of a year where they were closed for part of the year.
Steve Vincze, a homeowner south of Burland Ranchettes, said he and his wife have a house share agreement for their home. He said $605 was more than 10 percent of their annual income.
Commissioner Ray Douglas said a home share wasn’t part of the short term rental ordinance and fee structure if a room is rented while the owner is there.
Commissioner Dick Elsner said if it was a bed and breakfast with the owner living in the same house, it wouldn’t fall under the STR ordinance.
Commissioner Amy Mitchell said it was a gray area. Douglas said clarification was needed.
Elsner said the issue would be given to staff to look at clarifying the short term rental ordinance.
Mitchell said they would review the fee after some time and could reduce it, if it was more than the county’s cost.
(The wording of Ordinance 21-01 is in the Legals in this week’s Flume on Page 13)
On recording meetings
Recording work sessions and recording just audio during regular meetings were issues raised during public comment by Richie Frangiosa, Bryan Lilly and Thomas Woodard.
All three said they agreed with Vincze’s comments that the fee was too high for short term rentals.
Elsner said it was the commissioners’ choice to not record work sessions because they wanted a more friendly session where people could be more open, knowing they weren’t being recorded.
Frangiosa said most people can’t attend so if the work sessions were recorded, the citizenry could be more informed.
Elsner said work sessions are to inform the county commissioners on what is coming up, and that decisions can’t be made during a work session,
Lilly said the meetings are not video recorded, only audio, and the audio isn’t posted on the website. He recommended that the video be recorded and posted to the website.
“I’m not going to do the Zoom thing because there is nothing to see,” Elsner said “We set off in the distance and then someone comes up to talk.”
Elsner said they could talk about making it easier to get the audio, but bandwidth was the biggest issue. Currently anyone can request a recording and it will be provided. Meeting packets are posted with the agenda.
Lilly said the Town of Fairplay posts video to their website and other counties do as well.
Lilly said video is important because it shows body language and facial expressions, which he considered important.
Elsner said they would look into posting audio but had decided not to post video because it took a lot of bandwidth.
Elsner said they had only two full-time and one part-time personnel in the information technology department. It would be too burdensome on them to post video.
Woodard said he would take it a step further and say all meetings should be recorded. There shouldn’t be any private conversations going on by public officials.
Elsner said everything they do is required to be public and can be obtained with a Colorado Open Records Act request.
He said a phone call to a state department doesn’t need to be recorded. A recording would probably lead to more problems, because then the state employee would say he’d have to ask his boss about talking while being recorded.
Woodward also asked about closed captions so meetings would be available to hearing impaired persons.
Elsner said it was too expensive and the closed captions aren’t always accurate.
Woodard said deaf persons can’t rely on the minutes because they only list the item and vote, nothing about what was said.
Elsner responded that the minutes meet state requirements and it would cost a tremendous amount of money to transcribe a meeting. Plus meeting packets are available on the county website.
Elsner said the commissioners have tried with the pandemic to open things up. Before, one needed to show up at a meeting to know what was said. Now, they can use Zoom.
Woodward asked if anyone from the public was allowed to video tape the meetings. Elsner said yes, if they brought their own equipment.
Lilly said closed caption is available with Zoom, the internet program the county uses for meetings. So it would be easy to record with closed caption and post to the website.
Lilly said he thought the county had just gotten broadband, so bandwidth shouldn’t be an issue.
Elsner said there were no current broadband initiatives. He said the county has some fiber, but a private company would have to run fiber to homes.
Elsner said Zoom isn’t secure and the county will probably not use it long-term. The state is currently testing security with three other formats.
The commissioners set the neighborhood as the properties adjacent to the property for a new retail marijuana cultivation facility hearing.
TCF-Xquisite Cannabis is seeking a license for property at 2874 County Road 34. It is east of U.S. Highway 285 and is surrounded by agriculture, conservation recreation and mining zoned properties.
A different company had a cultivation facility on the 160-acre lot from 2015 to 2019.
TCF will use the same building if a license is granted. No date has yet been set for the license hearing.
A transfer of a liquor license was approved for Zuccaro’s Kitchen Inc.
The new restaurant is located at 12787 U.S. Highway 24 in Hartsel.
Clerk and Recorder Debra Green said the previous owner was The HOB.
Gregory Brown, the new owner, said they plan to continue serving pizza and other Italian food for now, but may try barbecue this summer as well.
Brown said his daughter was returning from California to manage the place. She will conduct TIPS training and certification for all employees that serve alcohol.
TIPS is short for Training for Intervention Procedures. The certification is used in 43 states for establishments that serve alcohol.
Vouchers in the amount of $228,570 were approved for payment. Numbers were rounded by The Flume.
The general fund spent most of that, $153,725.
E911 fund and fleet services spent $24,160 and $20,050, respectively. Public works spent $14,370.
The remaining $16,265 was spent in varying amounts by the conservation trust, grant, sales tax trust, human services, 1041 permit and insurance funds.