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Fight over nightly rentals, Summit County leads


As nightly rentals balloon throughout Colorado so have issues and regulations.  Summit County (Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper Mountain) is the most recent county to get on the bandwagon of regulating rentals.  Why are the regulations so important that are coming down the pipe?  What are the implications on real estate?  Why is this “fight” just beginning and what number radically changes the debate.

Nightly Rentals are not a new phenomenon

Nightly rentals didn’t just appear yesterday but for whatever reason the “issues” with nightly rentals seems to be reaching a crescendo in many mountain communities as their usage continues to grow.  As nightly rentals grow, the inherent conflicts with homeowners also seems to be growing.

In December 2014 there were approximately 6000 listings throughout Colorado, that number has increased to 36,000 in December 2018, a 6 times increase in only 4 years.  This rapid increase has led to a sense of urgency to better regulate nightly rentals.

What is Summit County’s plan?

Summit county has seen their nightly rentals balloon and have proposed the following changes to regulations:

Permitting system: 150/year
Limits on occupancy: 2 occupants per bedroom + 2 more occupants/unit or 1 person/300 square feet
Limitation on parking (location/quantity
Ability to revoke a permit for up to 2 years for violations

What number has changed the nightly rental discussions?

Remember, the only ones who can vote are full time residents.  In Routt County, home to Steamboat, over half the properties are owned by non residents.  I would suspect in Summit County that the ratio of full-time residents to non-residents is around 30% full time vs 70% part time/out of area owners.  This means the 30% can decide quite a bit about the fate of nightly rentals in the area.  The voters elect the city council members who are spearheading the change in regulations.

Many resort markets are changing/have changed substantially

Resort markets have evolved throughout Colorado with many location neutral workers opting to work and live full time in places like Breckenridge, Vail, Steamboat, etc… These location neutral workers are buying homes and working full time jobs.  Many don’t want to be surrounded by nightly rentals for various reasons.  These are the same faces that are now voting.


This is just the beginning

I do not see the trend of increased regulation slowing down anytime soon.  Nightly rentals are way ahead of any regulations in many communities throughout Colorado and cities/counties throughout the state will be playing “catch up” for a while.

For example, the state recently evaluated a proposal to change the zoning of nightly rentals and tax them as commercial properties.  The amendment didn’t make it into law, but proposals like this are just the beginning of the changes in store.

How does this impact real estate?

Nightly rentals have soaked up quite a bit of supply in many resort communities. The owners of these properties have become accustomed to the incremental income.  Let’s say someone had a house in Breckenridge and rented it every weekend when they weren’t using it.  With the regulation changes, this house might not rent for the same amount each night (if the number of occupants is capped) or might not be rentable for short term periods.  Many mountain towns are banning short term rentals in certain areas to preserve the character of the neighborhoods and to try to “encourage” longer term rentals.

For example, if regulations go too far in limiting nightly rentals the values of some properties could be reduced.  If there is no additional income (or greatly reduced income) on a property a prospective purchaser might not be as apt to buy the property as the numbers would no longer make sense.


The huge growth in nightly rentals has brought the issue to the forefront in many communities.  This trend will continue as cities and counties grapple with the right mix of regulation.  Many resort communities will begin setting the trends in regulation as most homes are now investment properties; this gives full time residents much greater sway over policies.  This trend will not only continue but accelerate and could have long term impacts on property owners and the value of their real estate.

Top 10 locations for nightly rentals in Colorado (source Airbnb)

Denver County, 477,100 arrivals
Summit County, 275,300
El Paso County, 146,800
Boulder County, 115,100
Larimer County, 93,000
Jefferson County, 89,500
Grand County, 78,600
Eagle County, 60,600
Routt County, 54,600
Adams County, 52,800


Resources/Additional Reading

Dillon Considers Fireworks display

by Summit Daily

July Fourth, Frisco, Colorado
Todd Powell

The door isn’t completely closed on a fireworks show in the county on the Fourth of July.

Following the cancellations of fireworks displays in Frisco and Breckenridge — citing public safety concerns about both wildfires and large-scale issues surrounding traffic and crowds — the town of Dillon is considering stepping in to fill the void.

The subject was brought up at the Dillon Town Council workshop on Tuesday evening, as officials discussed several topics related to safety, crowding, funding, the community’s desires and potential impacts on other towns like Frisco.

No decision was made at the meeting, and the town is expected to revisit the topic in an upcoming council workshop on April 16.

“It’s a big question, and a big topic and it’s worth some discussion,” said Councilman Mark Nickel. “I think we have to keep an open mind, look at the environment and the span of the county, and if we feel we can accommodate all of these people around the lake.”


The Colorado Department of Natural Resources and Colorado Parks and Wildlife is boasting the release of the Colorado Trail Explorer — or COTREX for short — as Colorado’s official trails app.

COTREX is a free application for website and mobile users with over 39,000 miles of public Colorado trails in the database, and people can use the app to navigate trails on federal, state, local and private lands with public access.

COTREX was also reportedly built for all trail users, meaning that hiking, mountain biking, equestrian riding and motorized recreation are included.

“The COTREX app is a marriage of Coloradans’ love of the outdoors and using the latest technology to discover more of our beautiful state,” said Alex Dean, trails and recreation project manager for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. “We are excited for Coloradans to download the COTREX app. It’s a great tool for exploring our wide diversity of trails and encouraging more Coloradans to spend time outdoors.”

For adventurists planning on heading in no-man’s land for cellphone service, they can download maps ahead of time for a continuous experience that doesn’t depend on a network. Find the app by searching for “COTREX” in your smartphone’s app store.

A new smart phone app called “COTREX” offers more information about than 39,000 miles in Colorado. It was released by the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.


Swan River Restoration Project

by Summit Daily

The Swan River Restoration project is seeing success two seasons after completion on a one-mile stretch of the stream. Breckenridge's Tenmile Range can be spotted beyond.
Hugh Carey / [email protected]

Summit County’s Open Space & Trails Department gave the board of county commissioners its annual update on the Swan River Restoration project on Tuesday, as required by the county’s permit for gravel excavation. The restoration is a radical reclaiming of a broken, dry stretch of the Swan River that had been ravaged by dredge mining in the twilight days of the gold rush.

Open space & trails director Brian Lorch and senior resource specialist Jason Lederer were on hand to present developments on the project over the past year. The two spoke to the positive ecological and riparian development at the upper portion of the project, and addressed residents’ concerns about truck traffic volume created by the crushing and shipping of gravel from the site.

Things are looking up on the environmental front. Reach A, the first portion of the project already completed, is now in a monitoring phase to see how the local ecology is developing. Soil, channel development, flora and fauna are all thriving two seasons after the mile-long stretch of river was reclaimed.

“Even though we’ve been pretty dry, we’ve seen the site develop in a very natural way,” Lederer said.

However, certain bare patches on the stretch, particularly on south-facing areas of the stream banks, are not growing as well as hoped. The county has been reseeding and putting more focus on growth in those areas to maintain vegetation growth consistency.

The department also conducted a fishery survey on the reclaimed waterway, and the results are promising. Brook trout of all sizes and maturity have been found in the stream, as well as mottled sculpin. In fact, this new stretch of waterway is now home to the largest concentration of mottled sculpin anywhere upstream of the Dillon Reservoir, which is a sign of a healthy stream.

As far as recreational access, the county is also starting to look at creating a trail that connects the restoration site to the wider trail network, which would include a rock road for access.

The project’s success has been noted state and nationwide. In October 2018, the project received an Outstanding Ecological Management Program award from the Colorado Open Space Alliance. The award recognizes outstanding, innovative and successful research, restoration or monitoring programs targeted at ecological resource management.

In just the past week, open space & trails received the 2019 International Erosion Control Association Presenters of the Year award for a presentation about the project called “Turning the River Right-Side-Up – Restoring the Swan River After a Century of Mining Impacts.”

While the ecological success is good news for the project, neighborhood concerns remain. Just shy of a dozen Breckenridge residents attended the work session, with some raising concerns about how much longer the gravel exporting will go on, as well as a lack of compliance by companies running trucks up and down Tiger Road when it comes to things like noise levels and quiet hours.

The county, with its conditional use permit for excavation and gravel crushing for rocks on-site, has assigned a timeline to Schofield Excavation where gravel milling operations will be complete by May 2021 and gravel removal operations will end by May 2022.

In the three years until then, the excavators are required to export nearly 100,000 tons of gravel off-site. For comparison, 100,000 tons of gravel were exported last year alone. However, due to the fluctuations in the construction materials market, it is still unclear how much gravel will be exported this year and how much will be left to go.

Lorch and Lederer said that they had been working with Breckenridge Police Department and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office to step up enforcement for non-compliant truck traffic. The department is also working with the public works department to improve signage and street markings in the area to improve safety for residents and drivers alike.

Spring skiing!

by Allison Simson

I hope you enjoyed the Easter/Passover weekend!  It was lovely here in Summit (well, OK, it was cloudy and gray, but the snow is melting and the crocus in my garden are poking their heads up through the mud! 

In Summit County 'mud season', when things slow down, normally starts after Easter because that is when the ski resorts mostly closed in the past. This year is unique as it is the first time in around 20 years the Breckenridge is going to staying open through Memorial Day.  And they have stated this will continue in the future.  A-Basin is also still open, of course, and will likely make it into June. This change could cause a slight shift is real estate purchasing patterns.  I will track any changes and let you know. 

Here is a mortgage rate update in case you are thinking of purchasing this spring:

  • Rates rose 0.04% this week as US unemployment rates continue to drop, inflation numbers showed minimal movement, and strong economic data out of China was released. 
  • Despite the small increase in rates over the first two weeks of April, rates are still down 0.18% since the beginning of March and still significantly lower than in 2018.
  • The combination of a 50 year low for unemployment, controlled inflation, and historically low rates should benefit home buyers preparing for spring.

The spring selling season has begun!  Let me know if you are curious about the value of your property, or want us to keep a lookout for the perfect property for you.  

Some Highlights:

When listing your house for sale, your top goal will be to get the home sold for the best price possible!
There are many small projects that you can do to ensure this happens!
Your real estate agent will have a list of specific suggestions for getting your house ready for market and is a great resource for finding local contractors who can help!

How To List Your Home for the Best Price

by KCM

If your plan for 2019 includes selling your home, you will want to pay attention to where experts believe home values are headed. According to the latest Home Price Index from CoreLogic, home prices increased by 4.7% over the course of 2018.

The map below shows the results of the latest index by state.

Real estate is local. Each state appreciates at different levels. The majority of the country saw at least a 2.0% gain in home values, while some residents in North Dakota and Louisiana may have felt prices slow slightly.

This effect will be short lived. In the same report, CoreLogic forecasts that every state in the Union will experience at least 2.0% appreciation, with the majority of the country gaining at least 4.0%! The prediction for the country comes in at 4.6%. For a median-priced home, that translates to over $14,000 in additional equity next year! (The map below shows the forecast by state.)

So, how does this help you list your home for the best price?

Armed with the knowledge of how much experts believe your house will appreciate this year, you will be able to set an appropriate price for your listing from the start. If homes like yours are appreciating at 4.0%, you won’t want to list your home for more than that amount!

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is pricing their homes too high and reducing the price later when they do not get any offers. This can lead buyers to believe that there may be something wrong with the home, when in fact the price was just too high for the market.

Bottom Line

Pricing your home right from the start is one of the most challenging parts of selling your home. Once you decide to list your house, let’s get together to discuss where home values are headed in your area!

Silverthorne’s workforce housing project, Smith Ranch, targets more townhomes

by Summit Daily- Eli Pace

The sale of the first home at Silverthorne’s Smith Ranch workforce-housing neighborhood closed last week, marking a celebratory moment for the new homeowners and the town that’s pursuing the project.

Hoping to chip away at the lack of available housing, Silverthorne has slated over 50 acres at Smith Ranch, nestled on the northern end of town, for a new workforce-housing neighborhood and selected Compass Homes Development to spearhead the project.

Phase one is now starting to come to fruition. The new homeowners, Roger and KelLee Abdella, closed on the first sale last Friday. More closings are slated for the coming weeks, and Silverthorne has already issued at least five certificates of occupancy.

Altogether, the first phase is bringing 27 new townhomes, 17 single-family homes and 16 units in duplexes — a total of 60 new homes — to Silverthorne’s lineup of deed-restricted housing. The homes must be owned and occupied by people who work at least 30 hours a week in Summit County.

The developer, Blake Shutler, said that all but four of the homes from phase one are already under contract. The remaining ones are all two-bedroom townhomes.

Not content to stop after the first phase, the town and developers have started turning some of their attention to phase two. As planned, the second phase would bring another 51 townhomes to Smith Ranch across six four-unit buildings and nine three-unit buildings.

“Phase one was a pretty even mix,” said Lina Lesmes, Silverthorne’s planning manager, adding that it only made sense to follow up on the first phase with the townhomes scheduled for phase two.

For the second phase, the four-unit buildings would each house a pair of two-bedroom units and two, three-bedroom townhomes. Meanwhile, seven of the triplex buildings would contain two, two-bedroom units and one three-bedroom unit. The other two triplex buildings would house only two-bedroom units.

All of the homes would have rear access and front doors facing either Adams Avenue, Smith Ranch Road or the neighborhood’s green space, positioned at the center of phase two’s cluster of homes.

All of the three-bedroom units would come with their own one-car garage, and there would be a three-bedroom home included in the lineup that’s being designed for people with disabilities for phase two, as well.

Altogether, this would make for 111 planned homes across both phases with a majority of the units having garages. The rest of the homes are scheduled for ample surface parking. Plans for phase two could be subject to change, Lesmes said, but it’s likely the townhomes produced throughout it will be sold in waves.

The town and developers are planning to follow up on phase two “pretty quickly” with phase three, which could bring in some more single-family duplexes, Lesmes said.

For more information, visit

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Vail Resorts end pass partnership; VR announces new ‘Keystone Plus Pass’

Light shines on Arapahoe Basin Ski Area's East Wall as seen on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018. Hugh Carey / [email protected]

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area announced Monday it will not continue its pass partnership program with Vail Resorts next season.

In a statement announcing the news on its website, officials with A-Basin pointed to “a pinch on parking and facility space” as a reason for the breakup.

“Due to these constraints,” the statement read, “Arapahoe Basin believes its staff can take better care of its guests by separating from Vail Resorts.”

“With diverse ski runs including some of the most intense terrain in North America and a culinary operation that is regularly listed among the top 10 in the country, the ski area has developed a very special community that feels like home,” A-Basin chief operating officer Alan Henceroth wrote. “In order to continue to build on this spirit and the experience we have created, Arapahoe Basin and Vail Resorts will not be renewing their pass partnership for the 2019/2020 season.”

The announcement cited the growth both in popularity and skier visitation the ski area has seen after investing 40 million dollars over the last 15 years. On his A-Basin blog, Henceroth provided more explanation behind A-Basin’s perspective on the end of the partnership, and also said although there is that pinch on parking and facility space, the mountain “still has plenty of room for skiers and riders.”

“Looking forward,” Henceroth wrote, “we strive to provide ready and easy access for our guests. Our goal is to minimize waiting and crowding and maximize experiences and fun.”

The COO added that currently the ski area has no new partnerships to announce, however, in the coming months A-Basin will be discussing opportunities with several resorts and resort groups.


Arapahoe Basin Ski Area chief operating officer Alan Henceroth comments on A-Basin and Vail Resorts severing ties for the 2019-20 ski season and the possibility of A-Basin entering into an agreement with another ski area or group.

Posted by Summit Daily News on Monday, February 18, 2019

“Skiers and riders that call A-Basin home can feel good knowing the resort will still offer tremendous value and exceptional mountain experiences,” Henceroth continued on his blog. “These actions are designed to preserve that special culture and vibe people expect when they choose to spend a day at The Basin. The future for Arapahoe Basin is very bright.”

The COO also clarified that the 2018-19 Vail Resorts season passes will remain valid at A-Basin for the remainder of the 2018-19 season.

Vail Resorts announces new ‘Keystone Plus Pass’
Shortly after A-Basin announced the end of the partnership, Vail Resorts released its own statement announcing the “Keystone Plus Pass,” a new option to replace the Keystone A-Basin Pass.

In its statement, officials with Vail Resorts said the new pass will provide unlimited access to Keystone Resort with holiday restrictions, unlimited late spring skiing at Breckenridge Ski Resort starting April 1 and five days at Crested Butte, with holiday restrictions. The pass will have a starting price of $369 for adults and $259 for kids. The Keystone Plus Pass will go on sale when Epic Pass products launch in spring 2019.

The Keystone A-Basin Pass has historically been a popular choice among Summit County locals and transient skiers alike as a reasonably priced pass (less than $400) that provides an ability to ski and ride not only at the two destinations located just miles from one another, but also night skiing at Keystone.

Vail Resorts also announced that beginning next season, all of the company’s unlimited season pass products will include 10 buddy tickets, which is an increase from the six previously offered on the Epic Pass, Epic Local Pass, Summit Value Pass. Buddy tickets are daily lift tickets offered at a flat discounted rate for friends and family of pass holders. This will be included with the Keystone Plus Pass, Tahoe Local Pass, and Tahoe Value Pass when purchased before the customary April deadline.

“We are excited to offer a new pass that provides skiing and riding from mid-October through Memorial Day at Keystone and Breckenridge, at an incredible value,” said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer for Vail Resorts, in the statement. “We want to thank Arapahoe Basin for their partnership for over 20 years. We are disappointed but given the success they have had and their recent investments into the resort, we respect that this is the right time for them to move in a different direction.”

In its release, Vail Resorts also pointed to how it is positioning for both Keystone and Breckenridge resorts to offer “one of the longest ski and snowboard seasons in the country.” In recent months, Vail Resorts announced capital investments into Keystone Resort’s snowmaking that the company hopes will help position the resort to be the first to open in the U.S. The company also announced that, pending U.S. Forest Service approval, Breckenridge Ski Resort will annually extend winter seasons through Memorial Day, extending its season by more than a month.

Historically, along with Loveland Ski Area in neighboring Clear Creek County, A-Basin has been the first or one of the first ski areas to open in the country. It also typically stays open later than most any other resort in the country.

Christy Sports in Dillon Now Open!

by Summit Daily

Almost one year after the Christy Sports Ski and Patio in Dillon tore down its building to create a “signature store” in its place, the business is back with a spacious new structure that’s hard to overlook.

Christy Sports has more than 55 locations across four states, making it one of the largest specialty retailers of winter sports gear in the U.S. However, the company has only four signature stores, including ones in Avon, Boulder and Park Meadows.

The newest signature store is more than 17,000 square feet and occupies a prominent location at West Anemone Trail and Highway 6 in Dillon, just off one of Summit County’s most traveled thoroughfares.

“We’re loving it,” said Andy Turner, a sales associate with five years of experience at Christy Sports. “It’s an amazing store to work in, and we have a ton of space to work with; that’s what I like the most.”

The additional space wasn’t lost on a man and woman who live Keystone and were leaving the store Tuesday after securing some demo gear for late-season skiing. Having known the old store, its wonky layout and limited space, they both appreciated the new building.

“I think it’s beautiful and the service is really friendly,” the woman said. “We’ve been going to Christy’s for many years and it’s good. My only complaint is (the new building) blocks the view when you come down the hill.”

The friendly, helpful customer experience is exactly what Christy Sports in Dillon hopes to reproduce again and again, both with its new building and its staff, explained Brian Sullivan, Christy Sports’ director of operations in Summit County and Winter Park.

With the new building, Christy Sports is also planning a grand-opening celebration sometime next fall, just ahead of the 2019-20 ski season. However, right now the workers are just happy to be settling into the new space, as they reopened the business inside the new building on Saturday.

Construction is all but done, yet some landscaping work remains. Still, anyone who’s driven through Dillon this winter has likely noticed the massive building that’s punctuated by large windows.

“This is the newest signature store for Christy Sports,” said general manager Adam Gillespie, as he led the newspaper on a tour of the new building and its three floors on Tuesday.

A wide-open sales floor with vaulted ceilings welcomes customers inside. With racks of socks, helmets and everything in between, Christy Sports has all of the necessary winter gear, from warm base layers to protective ski shells and pants, that someone might need for a day on the slopes.

Up a flight of stairs underneath large white letters that read “We Love Snow,” customers will find Christy Sports’ new skis, ski boots and its rental equipment, including packages for skiers and snowboarders with different styles and experience.

With 100-plus models on the ski wall, Gillespie said, Christy Sports carries all of the biggest brands. However, the highlight of the second floor is probably the building’s floor-to-ceiling windows, which take up the northwest corner of the floor to reveal spectacular views of Buffalo Mountain and Silverthorne below.

“It really brings the outside in,” Gillespie said. “Honestly, I think it’s one of the coolest buildings in the county.”

Employees boast the new store will also have the “biggest rental fleet” in Summit County, and downstairs from the main floor resides the ski shop and some office space on the garden level. Altogether, it’s a building that’s been custom-made to Christy Sports’ liking.

This comes after Christy Sports’ old store was carved out of a building that once housed multiple businesses. Eventually, Christy Sports took over the whole building and — with a few remodeling projects — made it work for as long as the business could.

“But it just wasn’t enough for the community and for what we were trying to do,” Gillespie said, adding that they had simply outgrown the old building.

And so the decision was made to knock it down and rebuild on the site. Gillespie said the entire project was more than five years in the making, and during the year that Christy Sports was locked in construction work, the business was grateful to find a temporary home inside the Outlets at Silverthorne.

During the demolition, he added, many of the materials were recycled, as Gillespie said that Christy Sports did its best to prevent them from going into the landfill.

“To pull this size of a project off … we just feel really, really excited and happy how well we all came together as a team,” he said.

In mid-May, the Dillon store will retool its inventory and bring in a wide variety of outdoor patio furniture. Gillespie said he doesn’t think anyone will beat their selection, while Sullivan added that it all means people won’t have to drive down to Denver to get what they want.

Christy Sports was founded in 1958. The company’s headquarters are in Lakewood and now has over 55 locations in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Washington.

Additionally, the Christy Sports in Dillon will again offer its Powder Daze Sale for Labor Day weekend, which has become a hugely popular event, especially among locals looking for bargains.


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Summit Real Estate
The Bright Choice
330 Dillon Ridge Way, Suite 10
Dillon CO 80435
Fax: 970-468-2195

Allison Simson, Owner/Broker, is a licensed Colorado Real Estate Broker