May 25, 2022

Summit County Council to consider a 6-month moratorium on nightly rentals

By Leslie Thatcher | KPCW | May 24, 2022 |

The Summit County Council will consider approving a 6-month moratorium on new nightly rental licenses for the rest of the year at its meeting Wednesday.

It’s estimated that there are as many as 6,000 nightly rentals in Summit County, and only about 1,000 of them are licensed. Local officials say the proliferation of short-term rentals has effectively squeezed the availability of long-term housing for the area’s workforce.

Summit County Manager Tom Fisher says the county council will consider putting a temporary stop to nightly rental licenses during its regular meeting Wednesday afternoon.

“We know that we have a large amount of nightly rentals within the county that affect our neighborhoods, affect the amount of housing stock that we have available for people to long term rent within our community, or own. So, a whole host of issues is driving the council to look at this issue. And in order to give the council some time with staff to look at what would be appropriate in Summit County as far as regulation, they need that six-month period.”

It’s estimated that as much as 22% of the housing stock in the unincorporated county is short-term rentals.

“You know, it’s significant,” said Fisher. “And we hear more and more of folks in neighborhoods where these are happening, that sometimes the folks that rent those properties, don’t treat them as well, or treat their neighbors as well as they’re going through that rental. So that’s just one of the issues. But you know, we have also a lot of nightly rentals within The Canyons in a place where nightly rentals are more appropriate. So, we have to look at those, the dichotomy of issues associated with that.”

The council could make a decision on a nightly rental moratorium Wednesday, but given some opposition from the Park City Board of Realtors, it may decide to hold off.

The Board of Realtors sent out an email to its members saying that a moratorium could drastically impact sales on properties that may be under contract.

And the email noted that the county did not include any real estate professionals in the discussion of the report, despite the realtors’ request to weigh in.

In other business the council will get an update on the Wind Farm that’s been under consideration for several years. The plan is for a 100-megawatt wind generating facility up Echo Canyon near the Wyoming border. As many as 39 wind turbines could be built, capable of powering more than 20,00 homes per year.

But according to Fisher, the energy that would be produced at the farm isn’t necessarily headed for homes here in Summit County. The council would still help finance the project, Fisher says, like it’s helping to finance the solar farm in Tooele to advance the county’s net zero goals for 2030.

Tax increment financing, known as TIF, could be used to fund construction on property that’s owned by Councilor Chris Robinson. While Robinson has recused himself from the conversation, Fisher says no sweetheart deals are being negotiated.

“I think I think essentially this company is leasing property from one of the entities that that council member Robinson is involved in. So, you know, I don’t I don’t think there’s anything nefarious there.”

The council will also continue discussing a proposed landscaping ordinance and could possibly approve an ordinance that would form a Summit County Open Space Advisory Committee to help decide how to spend $50 million in open space bond money.

The council meets in work session Wednesday at 3:30 at the Richins Building or on Zoom.

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