Moab, Park City cry foul as Utah lawmakers focus on policies for holiday vacation residences

Tourist towns be concerned that the Legislature will damage their initiatives to ease the affordable housing disaster.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Houses hug the south shore of Bear Lake in Garden Town on Thursday, June 30, 2022. A legislative evaluate would affect how Utah vacationer cities could regulate trip residences.

Tries by some Utah metropolitan areas to control where by co-owned getaway homes are found inside their boundaries have escalated into a key clash in excess of residence rights.

New zoning principles from places this kind of as Park City, Moab and Springdale on these next houses are just a sliver of the state’s greater debate in excess of the impacts of quick-phrase rentals on its housing crisis, but even compact measures in that route have sparked a powerful reaction.

A monthly bill on Capitol Hill would bar counties, cities or cities from managing household properties with shared or fractional ownership unique from other residences — in conditions of zoning and land use on this kind of properties as effectively as possible sanctions towards their co-owners.

It was 1 of many expenses in the course of the 2023 legislative session marking an additional round in the duel involving the condition and its towns more than how shorter-time period rentals available by home owners on web sites this kind of as Airbnb and Vrbo are controlled.

SB271 surfaced late in the session, which ends Friday, and, immediately after a single listening to and languishing for a whilst in the Household Policies Committee, it emerged, was handed and now awaits the signature of Gov. Spencer Cox.

The argument for personal house rights

In that a person committee airing, quite a few conservative lawmakers and backers of house rights stated the really believed at the rear of such municipal policies on co-possession had been misguided, unprecedented and that it violated essential protections in the Utah Structure.

Amid the “inherent and inalienable rights” enshrined in the point out structure, they famous, is the correct “to purchase, possess and safeguard house.”

“What we’re striving to do is make positive it’s crystal clear that individuals can have properties jointly,” mentioned Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork. “This is a non-public home rights monthly bill.”

City officers were also veering into “discriminatory” rules in some scenarios by seeking to limit households owned via trusts and confined liability businesses to principally business spots, in accordance to a agent from Pacaso, a California-based business that specializes in giving fractional possession in luxury 2nd residences.

Towns have the electrical power to regulate land use, Kevin Heneghan, Pacaso’s vice president of lawful affairs, reported, “but when they do so, they require to implement these land use codes similarly. They cannot select and choose selected assets proprietors to be treated in another way than other individuals. And they never get to decide who can and can not own property collectively.”

Chris Gamvroulas, president of Ivory Development who also heads the nonprofit Utah Residence Rights Coalition, called the moves by metropolitan areas “unconscionable” and turned away solutions the state wanted to review the challenge further.

Response from Moab and Park City

Amid a popular scarcity of houses statewide, Utah’s lots of vacationer and resort communities are working with a more determined hole in very affordable and workforce housing than most municipalities. They also have seen housing need soar from the COVID-19 pandemic as amplified distant get the job done enabled more folks to transfer to these scenic places.

All those intertwining developments have left Moab “tremendously susceptible,” according to Ben Billingsley, its main functioning officer. “As a more recent product of family vacation homeownership, it actually results in an existential threat for our local community and other rural communities throughout the state.

“This sector basically has an unlimited offer of possible prospective buyers,” Billingsley informed a skeptical Senate committee. “The improved getting power of company possession across all housing units in our group will restrict the availability of Moab’s homeownership for our workforce.”

Like a broader range of metropolitan areas, these cities also struggled for means to regulate the portion of their housing inventory remaining gobbled up for brief-term rentals. Which is a difficulty considerably complicated, city officials across Utah say, by condition-imposed boundaries on how they are authorized offset the lots of impacts of rewarding rentals that span no a lot more than 30 times.

Republican Gov. Cox has also weighed in on how these rentals are a main knot in fixing the state’s housing crisis.

In a key last-moment alteration to SB271, the bill was rewritten so as to not hamper cities’ capability to control brief-expression rentals or add-on homes these as internal “mother-in-law apartments” or exterior accessory dwellings above garages.

Park City has labored for months on a system for guiding co-owned homes to sure neighborhoods as section of a deeper study of its housing inventory.

Park City spokesperson Clayton Scrivner instructed the Park Record that SB271 clashed with the city’s standard program for safeguarding primary household neighborhoods when harming its middle-money and reasonably priced housing inventory.

“Residents and organizations,” Scrivner claimed in a published statement, “are victimized by ambush politics and shortsighted commercialization of neighborhoods.”