Park County commissioners adopted an ordinance Dec. 30, 2020 that outlines license requirements to operate short-term rental units.

The ordinance becomes effective Feb. 8. Current owners will have until April 1 to submit a license application to the development services department.

Twenty-three persons testified at the hearing. Some asked for specific clarification, such as whether the number of bedrooms or the septic size determined the number of guests allowed in an STR unit.

Commissioner Dick Elsner said several times throughout the hearing that the size of the septic system will govern the number of guests allowed.

Others, including Commissioner–elect Amy Mitchell, requested the ordinance be postponed to gather data to determine if a need exists for regulating STRs and to get input from county residents.

Elsner said the commissioners had been talking about the impacts for at least two years and held several work sessions since March.

Commissioner Mike Brazell said they had been receiving complaints about STRs in subdivisions for years. He said an STR is a commercial activity in a residential area and impacts to neighbors needed to be limited.

Others in attendance thanked the commissioners for enacting a licensing process for short-term rentals.

Elk Falls Ranch Property Owners Association President Renae Braun said many STRs exist in Elk Falls subdivision, which is adjacent to Staunton State Park and two commercial wedding venues.

She said the sheriff is called frequently, mostly for noise complaints.

Others testified that trash in general, and specifically trash attracting bears, plus trespass on neighboring properties were other issues that are increasing in some areas.

“The county did a good job of balancing the rights of the STR owner and the rights of the neighbors,” Braun said.

Several testified they heard the license would cost between $1,000 and $1,500, when other counties’ fees were much lower.

Elsner said fees would be discussed at a work session in January before an amount was set.

They were also told fees can’t be used to make money. By state law, fees can only cover the cost of processing the license.

The 10-page ordinance outlines all requirements for getting a license. Some sections list life safety standards, prohibit ember producing fires, and limit parking.

The ordinance prohibits recreational shooting, ATVs on county roads and camping to increase the number of guests over the house limit. STR units are limited to one per lot.

Each STR license must have a responsible agent listed with ways to contact that person. The agent can be the owner or another person.

Advertising on the property that it is an STR is prohibited. Certain specific information in the ordinance must be posted or listed in a flyer for all renters to see.

The ordinance also lists reasons for denying, suspending and revoking a license. Any of these actions may be appealed to a hearing officer appointed by the board of county commissioners. The decision of the hearing officer may be appealed to the district court.

The ordinance has a section on enforcement and penalties for violations. A violation is a class two petty offense. If a person is convicted, fines vary depending on the violation.

The full ordinance is on the county website, www.parkco.us. It is attached to the Dec. 30, 2020 agenda.

Cutthroat Cafe liquor license

Cutthroat Cafe in Bailey received a liquor license.

Dillian Combs, manager and part owner, said the Cutthroat was the only restaurant in Bailey that didn’t serve alcohol. Chip Thomas is the primary owner.

A canvas of 37 neighbors was conducted with all being in favor of the license.

She said with COVID-19 restrictions, they decided to offer alcohol to stay competitive. She said the decision was made after having several groups of tourists leave because alcohol wasn’t served.

Supplemental appropriations

The commissioners approved 2020 supplemental appropriations of $709,000 across seven funds. Numbers were rounded by The Flume.

About $363,800 of the appropriations was from grants. The general fund received and spent $293,240 from a federal forest reserve grant and a state grant.

The conservation trust fund spent $35,000 from the fund balance for a Platte Canyon swimming pool.

The grant fund received and spent $45,485. Improvements at the shooting range cost about $28,000. The other $17,400 was a miscellaneous expense paid from the fund balance.

The sheriff’s seizure fund received $9,650. It was spent on community service and officers welfare expenses.

Capital expense fund spent $25,000 for a generator installation.

The fleet fund financed four new Tahoe vehicles for $211,000 plus another $71,000 from the fund balance for a total of $282,000.

The 1041 permit fund received and spent $18,700 for two wildlife habitat permit hearings. Funding was paid by the applicants.

The commissioners held a short meeting Dec. 23, 2020 to approve one resolution. It approved holiday pay of time and one half for temporary contact tracers and an information specialist. The positions are to help the county public health department with required COVID-19 duties. Funding is provided from the federal CARES act.

Vouchers

Vouchers in the amount of $177,800 were approved Dec. 23, 2020. The biggest spenders were the general fund and the sales tax trust fund with $54,100 and $67,300, respectively.

The grant fund spent $28,100 and public works spent $17,000. The remaining $11,000 was spent by four other funds.

Vouchers approved Dec. 30, 2020 totaled $177,800. The general fund spent $103,700. Public works spent $18,900.

The conservation trust spent $7,600 and the sales tax trust spent $3,000.

Debt services spent $2,000. The remaining $1,400 was spent by four other funds.

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