OGDEN — Weber County leaders are mulling changes in the rules governing short-term rentals — particularly popular in the Ogden Valley — aiming to get a handle on the parking and noise complaints they sometimes spur.
Nothing concrete has yet been proposed, but an online work session is set for Tuesday between county commissioners and planning officials to launch formal debate on the matter. Public hearings will likely come later. A link and other details on Tuesday’s meeting, which starts at 5 p.m., can be found online at bit.ly/317JVxH.
“It’s looking at putting additional conditions in place to protect the residents in these areas,” said Rick Grover, planning director for Weber County. Stiffer fines for those who violate the rules and clearer enforcement provisions could be part of the changes, according to Weber County Commissioner Gage Froerer.
The Ogden Valley, home to three ski resorts, Pineview Reservoir and other outdoor draws, is a popular destination spot for visitors, both in the winter and summer. At the same time, it’s home to a growing number of short-term rental properties — think Airbnb and VRBO — which has prompted an uptick in complaints from locals about parking, partying and noise as visitation has increased.
“Ogden Valley, no question, is a hotspot,” said Freorer, who lives in the area. According to a presentation on the matter prepared by the county, there were 873 rental properties across Weber County listed on online marketplace websites, including 597 in unincorporated Weber County.
Last December, county leaders sent informational postcards to property owners in the Ogden Valley to encourage those who operate short-term rentals to register with the county, as required by law. A look into the rules governing such properties — which are scattered around the county, though the concentration is strongest in the Ogden Valley — is the next step in efforts to deal with the situation.
Froerer said Weber County officials have looked into guidelines implemented in locales in Montana, Idaho and Colorado to get ideas about possible changes. Any new rules would be applicable throughout the unincorporated corners of the county. Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, officials have also invited written comments from the public, to be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org and received by noon on Monday. The public will be able to address officials directly at later meetings, yet to be planned.
‘GET THEIR ATTENTION’
In the Ogden Valley, short-term rentals are only allowed in certain areas, and operators must get a business license to operate them. However, Froerer said some are located in places where they’re not permitted. Wherever they are, key in addressing the problems they generate is being able to respond to issues and complaints quickly.
“You have to deal with the situation at that point immediately, not a week later,” Froerer said. Accordingly, one possible change, he said, could entail launching a 24-hour service of some sort with staffers capable of responding to complaints received via a hotline, as they come in.
Stiffer fines against scofflaws, too, could be part of the solution, “to get their attention,” Grover said.
Froerer said encouraging homeowner associations to consider guidelines on short-term rentals, as allowed by law, will be another approach. “We’re going to encourage those HOAs to self-regulate,” he said.
Grover said the process of formulating possible rules changes on short-term rentals could take around three months.