South Fork Mayor Schmidt speaks to short-term rental fee changes

SOUTH FORK — Like many communities throughout the San Luis Valley, South Fork is dealing with the growth of the short-term rental market and is trying to figure out ways of monitoring the base throughout town limits to try and mitigate some of the negative impacts it is having on the community.

As a means of monitoring the short-term rental market in the town, the South Fork Town Board along with South Fork Town staff have come up with two potential solutions to ensure that the proper permits are obtained, and fees are paid by short-term rental owners.

South Fork Mayor Tyler Schmidt explained the town’s plan to address the issue during the meeting of the board on Tuesday, July 26.

South Fork Town Administrator Hank Weber explained that he, as directed by the board, created a resolution to adopt a new town position that would serve as a code enforcement officer, short-term rental enforcement officer and lawn care specialist and allocated funds to hire for the position immediately.

“I put together a job description per the town’s request and the funds for this position will be allocated to two to three different areas,” explained Weber.

Resolution 2022-23 reads, “The Town of South Fork, Board of Trustees, find it necessary to enforce rules and regulations within the town limits of South Fork to help alleviate burdensome violations of short-term rentals and the Town of South Fork municipal code and the Board of Trustees wish to create a new fulltime position with the Town of South Fork to enforce rules and regulations for short term rentals and town municipal code.”

After Resolution 2022-23 was read by Weber, the board voted unanimously to adopt it. More discussion pertaining to short-term rental permit fees was opened by Schmidt.

Ordinance 2022-01 was presented to the board, “The board believes that the modification and enforcement of regulations and licensing for short term rental properties in the town is necessary to avoid potential negative impacts to residential areas, control the impacts on the supply of long-term housing, to maintain a year-round community, level the playing field with commercial lodging businesses and to protect the public health, safety and wellbeing.”

The ordinance proposed the rental registration fee would increase to $1,500 per year for both new and renewal applicants. Within the ordinance it states that 55% of the funding from this increase would go toward paying for the new code enforcement position and the rest would be saved in a fund for future use by the town to try and solve the workforce housing issue in South Fork.

“Half of the funding from the increase in the short-term rental registration fee would go to creating the new code enforcement position and the rest will be earmarked for use by the town to either purchase property that could be used to build housing or the creation of workforce housing,” stated Schmidt.

Ordinance 2022-01 passed unanimously by the board.

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