It is estimated that there are as many as 6,000 overnight stays in Summit County, of which only about 1,000 are licensed. Local officials say the proliferation of short-term rentals has effectively limited the availability of long-term housing for the region’s workforce.
Summit County Manager Tom Fisher says the county council will consider temporarily suspending nightly rental licenses during its regular Wednesday afternoon session.
“We know we have a large number of nightly rentals in the county that are impacting our neighborhood, affecting the amount of housing stock we have available for people to rent long term in our community or that we own. A whole series of problems are therefore driving the Council to deal with this issue. And to give the council some time with the staff to consider what would be appropriate in Summit County in terms of regulation, they need that six-month period.”
It is estimated that up to 22% of the housing stock in the unincorporated county is for short-term leases.
“You know, it’s significant,” Fisher said. “And we’re hearing more and more from people in neighborhoods where this happens that sometimes the people who rent those properties out don’t treat them as well or don’t treat their neighbors as well as they go through that lease. So that’s just one of the problems. But you know, we also have a lot of nightly rentals in The Canyons in places where nightly rentals are more appropriate. So we have to look at that, the dichotomy of problems involved.”
The council could make a decision on a nightly rent moratorium on Wednesday, but in the face of some opposition from the Park City Board of Realtors, it could choose to hold it on hold.
The Board of Realtors sent an email to its members saying a moratorium could drastically affect the sale of properties that may be under contract.
And the email noted that the county didn’t include real estate professionals in the report’s discussion, despite requests from agents to get involved.
On other matters, the council will receive an update on the wind farm, which has been under consideration for several years. A 100-megawatt wind turbine is planned in Echo Canyon near the Wyoming border. Up to 39 wind turbines could be built, which could power more than 20,000 homes per year.
But according to Fisher, the energy that would be produced at the farm won’t necessarily be destined for homes here in Summit County. The council would still help fund the project, Fisher says, just as it is helping fund the solar farm in Tooele to drive the county’s 2030 net-zero goals.
Tax increase funding, known as TIF, could be used to fund construction of land owned by Councilor Chris Robinson. While Robinson has withdrawn from the conversation, Fisher says no sweetheart deals are being negotiated.
“I think, I think this company is essentially leasing property from one of the entities that this councilman Robinson has an interest in. So, you know, I don’t think there’s anything shameful there.”
The council will also continue to consider a proposed landscaping ordinance and could potentially approve an ordinance that would establish a Summit County Open Space Advisory Committee to help decide how $50 million in open space bond funds should be spent.
The council meets Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. in the Richins Building or on Zoom for a working session.