Changes in short-term rental fees proposed

By Clayton Chaney
Staff Writer

The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) heard from Director of Development Services Pamela Flowers in regard to new short-term rental (STR) fees at a work session held on Feb. 9.

The current fee that owners of STRs in the county pay is set at a base rate of $400 annually, regardless of what type of rental property it is or the size of the property.

In previous work sessions, Flowers has discussed with the BoCC about looking into different options for STR fees.

She explained how there are two different types of STRs in the county: owner occupied and non-owner occupied.

Owner occupied STRs are properties in which the owner lives on site and rents out a room or rooms to guests.

In a later interview Flowers clarified what kind of properties would be considered as owner occupied.

“They use the same front door,” she said.

She explained that owners of duplexes who live and reside in one half of the building and rent out the other portion of the building would not be considered as an owner-occupied property.

She added that the duplexes are considered as separate dwellings. 

Flowers’ suggestion for owner-occupied STR fees is to keep it at a base rate of $400, plus a $100 per bedroom/sleeping space charge.

This means that if an owner occupies a STR and rents out one bedroom, the total fees would be $500.

An additional $100 would be added for every bedroom that is rented out.

During the work session, the BoCC noted that the $100 per bedroom charge would be earmarked and set aside in a separate county fund to be used for establishing workforce housing within the county.

Commissioner Ronnie Maez discussed the option of making those funds earmarked for workforce housing available for developers to apply for.

Flowers also explained the new proposed STR fees for non-owner-occupied properties. 

A non-owner-occupied STR is one the owner does not live in. The owner may live on a different property in or outside of Archuleta County.

According to the proposed changes, the base rate for owners of one non-owner-occupied STR would be $800, with the additional charge of $100 per bedroom.

Owners of two non-owner-occupied properties would pay a base fee of $1,200 per property.

The rates would then increase by 50 percent for each additional non-owner-occupied property.

Owners of three non-owner-occupied STRs would pay $1,800 per property; four properties would pay $2,700 per property; and five properties would pay $4,050 per property.

The $100 per bedroom fee would be added to the base fee for each property.

Commissioner Warren Brown asked how much money it costs the county to process the STR permits.

According to Flowers, it costs the county roughly $782 to process each STR permit.

She explained this cost is made up of staff hours needed, and equipment and materials needed to process each permit.

She also mentioned during the work session the county may start to perform inspections with each renewal, instead of just one inspection for initial approval. 

Commissioner Alvin Schaaf commented,“Just take the simple fact that when we started this process two years ago, I think the information we received is that $400 would be sufficient and now we know that’s not the case. So, if we did nothing else, I think that we at least have to recoup the money that we’re putting into these processing fees.”

In the interview, Flowers noted that the Archuleta County Planning Commission is anticipating holding meetings to receive feedback from the community about other regulations with STRs.

The planning commission currently meets every fourth Wednesday of the month. Their next meeting will be on Feb. 24 at 6 p.m., at which they will discuss meeting times to review STR regulations with the community.

Flowers also indicated in the interview that a resolution with the proposed fee changes will be presented to the BoCC at the next board meeting, to be held on Feb. 16 at 1:30 p.m.

The meeting will be held virtually via Zoom. Contact County Administrative Assistant Jamie Jones at jjones@archuletacounty.org or 264-8300 to receive login information. 

This story was posted on February 15, 2021.