How do we regulate short term rentals in Redstone?


Redstone Boulevard is 17 miles south of Carbondale off Highway 133.

And most residents and businesses are crammed into a half-mile stretch of the road.

Bill Jochems has lived in his Redstone Boulevard home since 1971.

“The homes, for the most part, are on 50-foot lots,” Jochems said. “As a result, we got to know each other much better.”

He has seen the town of Redstone change over the past 51 years.

“The density of short-term rentals in this town is so great that I think it affects the character of the town. It kind of diminishes its village character,” Jochems said.

Hall Zander

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Aspen Public Radio

The house a few doors down from Jochem’s property is listed as a short-term rental. Most homes on Redstone Boulevard sit on 50-foot-wide lots, so neighbors live nearby.

According to Pitkin County data, there are approximately 67 parcels of land on this section of Redstone Boulevard. About 25% of them are listed as short-term rentals. (links available on grove)

Owners and vacation rental companies choose to rent out their properties for a few days at a time.

“It’s amazing to me how much people will pay to rent overnight here – for three or four hundred dollars here in Redstone,” Jochems said. “And no landlord wants to commit to renting to someone for $2,000 a month when they can do it.”

And Jochems said the lack of long-term rental housing means a lack of real neighbors. He says the sense of community is what really makes Redstone home.

“We are 17 miles from groceries, gas, medical care, police protection,” Jochems said. “If your battery is dead, you know exactly who will come and start your car. If you run out of gas, you know who will lend you a gallon of gas.

Jochems strolled down the boulevard to show the omnipresence of STRs. About one in four properties he visited was a short-term rental.

Jochems isn’t the only long-term resident to worry about.

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Hall Zander

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Aspen Public Radio

Skip Bell stands outside his home on Redstone Boulevard. Bell finds that short-term tenants undermine the sense of community in Redstone.

Skip Bell lives a few doors down from Jochems. Bell said rising real estate prices are making STRs more common.

“It drives people to buy homes as investments rather than places to live,” Bell said. “A lot of people are leaving who would normally be good neighbors and good friends.”

Lisa Wagner, owner of a Bed and Breakfast across the street from Bell, says STRs have hurt her business. She wants to see regulations that tax STRs like all other business entities.

A number of STRs in Redstone are zoned residential, so these owners do not pay the same level of taxes as Wagner does for his B&B.

Lauren Kaufman operates a short-term rental in a residential area half a mile from the boulevard.

She typically rents for $365 per night. And she encourages visitors to support local businesses.

“We encourage you to experience all the things Redstone has to offer,” Kaufman said. “So we’re really big fans of the hostel, the propaganda pie, the general store. We push people into the city.

Kaufman hopes this boost to the local economy offsets any negative impact from tourists.

“So hoping that helps offset the influx of foreigners,” Kaufman said. “Are you taking away from the community or adding to the prosperity of the town? And I think that’s a double-edged sword.

Kaufman adds that she will adapt to any new regulations passed by the commissioners. And she could even rent long term.

“If anything, we really appreciate these tenants,” Kaufman said. “It’s less wear and tear on the house. And there are people out there with that love and they’re actually there to get into that sense of community.

But Kaufman’s opinion isn’t as popular among other STR managers.

Brittany Hailey is the founder and CEO of Cactus Vacations and she manages a property on the boulevard.

She says if the legislation is passed and short-term tenants must be principal residents, landlords can rent the property long-term.

But they should charge a minimum of $5,000 per month.

“The cost of living here in the Roaring Fork Valley is extremely expensive,” Hailey said. “You can’t expect to buy a property for $700,000, invest a few hundred thousand dollars in it, and rent it out for $2,500 a month. I think it’s basically asking landlords and landlords to subsidize a housing crisis. And I don’t find that very fair.

But if Hailey can’t find a long-term tenant willing to pay that price, landlords may have to sell. Otherwise the property would sit empty for 11 months of the year.

“So what does this do to the community?” Hailey asked. “What does that do to your neighborhood?” This makes it a ghost town.

Hailey agrees that the percentage of STRs in Redstone is high and she welcomes the increased fees alongside a licensing process.

But instead of a primary residence requirement, she backs other regulations, including a cap on the number of STR permits in residential areas.

“So how can we coexist?” Hailey asks. “How can we limit how much there is in the area?” How can we keep these people accountable for bringing in good guests? »

Hailey wants to find a compromise. And Jochems acknowledges that tourism is a big part of Redstone, but he hopes the town will continue to be a home to many.

“There’s always been tourism since I’ve been here and before,” Jochems said. “But it’s also a living space. It is the house. I guess that’s the best way to put it.

The fate of short-term rentals in Redstone and the rest of unincorporated Pitkin County is yet to be determined.

Commissioners will continue their discussion of short-term rentals on April 13.

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