Item 3 - Housing Policy Commission - Short Term Rentals

To comment by phone during the meeting about this agenda item: 1-346-248-7799; Webinar ID: 920 3950 5230

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Staff Memo ( 0.19 MB )
Elicitation Document ( 0.22 MB )
Flow Diagram ( 0.06 MB )
Draft Ordinance ( 0.13 MB )
Draft Program Outline ( 0.11 MB )

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Dear City Council Members,

Please read and consider my comments on short term rental in Lakewood.

WHY WE HAVE ZONING
Zoning exists for the purpose of separating uses in order to foster maximum beneficial use and enjoyment of property ownership while minimizing conflicts.

Residential zoning is clearly intended to be where people own property to live, not where they own property to make a livelihood, to create an income stream. Residential stems from the word reside…commercial stems from the word commerce, as in a trade or business.

Residential and Commercial are not compatible uses unless designed to be that way in a mixed use zone. To retrofit commercial use into a residential zone is a violation of the intent of existing zoning and an affront to the people who bought homes based on the neighborhood being, and remaining free of commercial property.

Residential zoning does not allow unlimited use of your property for a reason. Don’t vote to exchange quality of life for the profiteering desires of the few.

IMPACTS ON THE HOUSING MARKET
Converting single family residences to commercial property destroys equilibrium in the housing market. The natural turnover of single family homes has been a bigger part of the supply chain of homes than new construction over time. To interrupt the supply chain by converting residences to businesses has a huge detrimental effect on the availability of SF homes for purchase. It is proven that it exacerbates the housing shortage and drives up the price of housing.

For every example of how ‘short term rental helps someone stay in their home’, there are many examples of the negative impacts of this practice on neighbors, on the market, and on the local police forces.

Single family home ownership is part of the American dream, and demand for live-in ownership is at an all time high. Allowing conversion of homes to short term rentals will be the American nightmare for prospective buyers as well as the neighboring property owners.

FACTS TO CONSIDER
This proposed change of use is different than operating a Bed and Breakfast with regard to the resident ownership and presence factor, as well as the parking issues it will create. Your best move now is to let the residents decide if we want it to forever alter the fabric of residential life in our neighborhoods.

Judging from recent social media posts, many people in my neighborhood are not even aware that the City is considering legalizing short term renting. To interpret the silence of the masses as acquiescence to changing use permissions would be a grave mistake. To interpret the few vocal people in favor of short term rental as ‘representative’ in a city of over 160,000 people is to misinterpret the public position entirely.

When we consider that the City does not have audit capacity to ensure that short term home rental income is being fully reported, nor the police capacity to respond in real time to problems caused by short term renting, approving this use change is clearly unsupported.

Allowing the commercial traffic in residential neighborhoods that will result from short term renting creates a dangerous situation for neighborhood kids, walkers and joggers. Please put resident safety first.

We are not Fort Collins, Breckenridge, or Aspen. We are a suburban city, not a resort town. Please keep Lakewood Lakewood.

BUSINESS IMPACT
From a pure business perspective, please consider that developers have spent millions building hotels in Lakewood, which generate tax income for the City from both room taxes and ancillary sales tax from guests using nearby amenities. Many ads for short term rental tout their service as an ‘alternative to staying in a hotel.’ Adding short term rentals will negatively impact hotel generated tax income.

PERSONAL IMPACT - LET THE VOTERS DECIDE
If you feel a vote is necessary on whether or not to approve short term rental of residential homes, I ask that you put this to a vote of the people. This is a much bigger impact situation than choosing a trash hauler, so please do what you did in that situation and put short term rental in Lakewood on the ballot. Let the people who will benefit and the people who will be impacted make this decision.

Thank you for considering my input.

04/05/2021 11:00 am
Aln Heald
9 / 11 Council Members have viewed this comment

I am strongly opposed to any STR in Lakewood. For months I have been dealing with a situation in which a townhome in my complex rented out their home. In turn, the renter has been illegally renting the home which they don't own on airbnb. This was done in violation of our community bylaws. I have communicated this to our HOA as well as to the city code enforcement. Due to privacy by both the city and the HOA I have had no information on when this violation will be dealt with and how and in the meantime a stream of vacationers; who don't follow our HOA bylaws has continued to use the unit as a vacation rental. I can't report this to airbnb as they don't allow that if I don't have an account.
There are no repercussions to the owner and the renter who both are in violation. For the owner, ignorance is not an excuse and for the renter, they are just pocketing money. Just yesterday vacationers were letting their dog use the communal green space as a bathroom. The vacationers don't know neighborhood association rules and it is left to us to fight it, and by the time someone tries to address the issue, the vacationers are long gone and both the renter and airbnb have made their money.
There are just too many problems with ways people can illegally post homes as STR and there is too much onus on the owners and long term renters to have to monitor all issues that come with STR. This can't happen while still trying to maintain civil relationships with our neighbors.
While I do continue to share the issues with both code enforcement and the HOA, I have to trust that action is being taken since no follow up communication is taking place. There is a lack of respect for those of us who are being asked to report violations and a huge gap in communication from the HOA, the city and airbnb. This does not create trust on my part that any future rules will be enforced and dealt with were there to be any issues with any STR "guests".
I have shared the code enforcement information case number for my specific issue with my Ward 2 council and would be happy to share it with any other council if those details are needed.
I do not support any STR in Lakewood and will continue to push against STR in our town. This applies to either rooms or whole houses.

04/04/2021 2:26 pm
Mary Manolis
10 / 11 Council Members have viewed this comment

Yes. Thank you. At my location across the street, a short-term rental come to life in 2019 and it has been a disappointment. But let's go on, I noticed in the draft that the short-term rental owner must notify the neighbors, next to him or her. That's great. Hopefully, there's some negotiation in there with that notice, such as just how are they going to build the entrance and what color they're going to paint it, and what type of lighting they are going to have. Lighting will always be a problem, I think, but the issue is this, we weren't told anything when they ended really comprehend what was happening till all of a sudden the short term rental is here. It would have been nice to been at least negotiating the paint scheme for what really looks like on the side of the house a Motel 6 Landing. We would love to have negotiated whereby instead of painting the Landing or walkway on the side of the house to a more subdued color instead of, come find me bright white. I think that notice that's given to the customers hopefully can have a sense of or a ability to at least make our thoughts or concerns known. With that, I'll let you go. Thank you very much.

04/01/2021 5:06 pm
David Miller
10 / 11 Council Members have viewed this comment
Phone-in comment

I have lived in this neighborhood since 1974. I do NOT want short term rentals near me or on my street. The neighbor across from me illegally used AirBnB 2 years ago and brought in nightly visitors to her rental room. The visitors parked in front of MY house, came in at all hours, and were noisy coming and going.
I also see that the policy does not allow the neighbor close to the possible STR to file a complaint or refuse to have a STR in the neighborhood. What gives???

03/30/2021 2:16 pm
Gayle Witmer
10 / 11 Council Members have viewed this comment

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