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Wasatch County Council Votes to Change Rules on Short-term Rentals Like Airbnb and VRBO

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Wasatch County
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The Wasatch County Council voted unanimously to amend the ordinance on primary residential short-term rentals at its meeting on Wednesday.

 

The change allows for two weeks per year to maintain primary residence tax status.

 

Shelby Thurgood of the Wasatch County Legal Department presented various options to the council. She said they evaluated the original 60 days allotted under the county code and considered other counties’ ordinances.

 

"The definition of a short-term rental is a 30-night consecutive stay, and in an effort to kind of balance the property owner's right to rent with protecting property taxes, I doubled that and set it at 60 nights, trying to figure out a good balance of days,” she said. “For example, Summit County's is 14 days. Springville City has a similar short-term rental ordinance for its zoning. There is at 90 nights. Todd and I have also discussed having ours be 14-days, like Summit, or having ours be 24 days, which would be about three weeks a year, a weekend every month for example, or 36 days which would be a three day weekend once a month or we could go in the middle and have 30 days." 

 

Wasatch County Assessor Todd Griffin told the council that he preferred fewer days for short-term rental on a primary residence.

 

"It seems the more days, the more cumbersome it is to administer primary-secondary under state code,” he said. “So I'm in favor of the fewer number. I can see Summit County's point of 14 days. And I can also see the public's personal interest that it's their property to rent, perhaps when they're on vacation, as well. So I feel 60 days is too much to be able to qualify for primary. It becomes almost income-producing property at that point. So just other opinions would be helpful at this time."

 

The council approved the 14-day limit on short-term rentals, but councilor Steve Farrell suggested accommodations for potential events such as a Winter Olympics.

 

"I would support the 14-days similar to what Summit County is doing,” he said. “I know this was a real issue during the Olympics if maybe we could make something in there that when we have an unusual event, such as the Olympics and having people come into this valley if we want to extend it maybe to the 30 days or 35-45 days. But the 14, I think, on a regular year would be fine."

 

KPCW reporter Carolyn Murray covers Summit and Wasatch County School Districts. She also reports on wildlife and environmental stories, along with breaking news. Carolyn has been in town since the mid ‘80s and raised two daughters in Park City.
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