It was with some trepidation that I went to the Breckenridge Town Council work session yesterday that amongst other things discussed the short-term rental regulations that have been a focal point of town affairs for over a year.


My previous post dated May 26th 2022 is available here. This offers some background on the license cap and regulations that are being discussed and implemented, not only in Breckenridge, but throughout the county.


As a quick recap, the Town of Breckenridge last year implemented a 'global' cap on short term rental licenses. This cap amount is 2200 and applies across all subdivisions and neighborhoods. This blanket cap was deemed to be without nuance and lacked the flexibility to be applied more stringently in some areas and with more availability in others. For most of this year a taskforce has worked to find an update to the blanket cap that allowed some determination on where short term rental licenses are readily available and which neighborhoods were more restricted. Collectively the task force and the Town of Breckenridge have been working on different zones within town referred to as the Tourism Overlay.


Fast forward to yesterday afternoon and the results of this challenging collaboration between the town council, taskforce and committed locals is available to share. Whilst it is easy to continue with frustrated rhetoric, the reality is that the zones defined below and the associated cap levels have been agreed by the council and they will be having a first reading of the new legislation in two week's time. This is the new real estate and property management landscape.


ZONES – see map below


Resort Zone – Formally referred to as ‘exempt properties’. These are all multi-unit complexes designed to house visitors to the ski area and downtown core. These properties are located west of Main St with easy access to the ski slopes. A list of these properties can be found at the bottom of this article.


Zone 1 – Also mainly west of Main St. These property’s prime function is to provide accommodation in the core part of Breckenridge with good access to the slopeside amenities.


Zone 2 – This zone runs for two blocks east of Main St roughly between where French joins Main St and just south of Jefferson.


Zone 3 – Everything else falls into Zone 3


STR license amounts


Resort Zone – 100% of all current units

Zone 1 – 90% of all current units

Zone 2 – 50% of all current units

Zone 3 – 10% of all current units (some discussion this will be 15%)


The upshot is that Resort Zone and Zone 1 will allow a high density of short term rentals and these are the two zones that the town wants focus for guest visitation. Rental investment properties and the buying and selling of STR real estate in these zones will be active and fluid.


Zone 2 being set at 50% is right where the percentage of STR licenses sit right now and as such, whilst there may be a wait list, getting a license should not take too long.


Obviously, the zone that is affected the most by these new license levels is Zone 3. This zone is scheduled to have the largest ‘attrition’ of licenses and it will take many years for this zone to reach the 10% threshold. The reality is that new licenses will not be available for the foreseeable future.


District 10 in zone 3 is of particular concern. District 10 comprises most of the real estate located off of Ski Hill Rd. My concern with this area being left out of either Zone 1 or Zone 2 is that these neighborhoods offer a large proportion of the larger homes that are rented to families, large groups and reunions. This district is close to the ski area and can be deemed an important lodging inventory for the ski area and town.


In my discussions with town councilors, I have expressed my concern and we have been assured that the STR license situation is one that will be reviewed. I hope that there is flexibility and ongoing review.


Whilst this STR license decision may not be what everyone is looking for, it does offer some clarity for the real estate market and clearly spells out which areas are open for short term rentals and which are meant to be primarily residential second home / primary residence neighborhoods with low STR density.


As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments.


- Additional reading - Summit Daily News article








by James Shingles