OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) — Weber County officials are looking to adopt a new ordinance to enforce restrictions and rules regarding short-term rentals (STRs) in the area. It’s a subject that is a hot issue for residents in Ogden Valley. While a new ordinance has yet to be adopted, a new company has been hired to enforce STR rules.
“It is the first step to get control on STRs,” Ogden Valley resident Jan Fullmer told Weber County commissioners during this week’s county commission meeting. Fullmer is just one of a handful who attended the meeting to voice their concerns.
“So please commissioners, and Weber County planning, I know this is a challenge but if we can nip this in the bud, it will save a lot of work and time in the long run,” Fullmer stated.
Most of those in attendance were opposed to having STRs in the Ogden Valley.
“We have established, older neighborhoods that we want to preserve and protect,” resident Kay Hoogland stated.
Along Pineview Reservoir, a construction boom is taking place. It is hard to tell which are full-time homes, vacation homes, or short-term rentals. According to censusreporter.org, there are nearly 6,000 homes in Ogden Valley, and more than 40% are vacant.
“We have somewhere between 700 to possibly 800 short-term rentals in Ogden Valley alone,” Weber County Commissioner Gage Froerer told ABC4. He explained that while the county is looking to implement a county-wide ordinance, most of the issues stemming from STRs take place in Ogden Valley.
“In order to have vibrant neighborhoods and communities, you have to have enforcement,” Froerer stated.
The ordinance would restrict STRs to specific areas in the county. Froerer said they are looking to limit STRs to more populated areas. It would also make sure short-term rental owners have a business license, a sales tax license, and a point of contact to respond to any complaints.
“We see that garbage, that noise, that number of parking spots really contribute to the aggravation of the neighbors when it comes to STRs,” Froerer added.
Some residents in the area have STR’s already and they would be in the restricted area if passed.
“My property will not conflict with the spirit and intent of having those zones,” Ogden Valley resident Douglas Dickson told commissioners during the meeting. “To the east of my property is the Liberty Cemetery; three acres. I don’t bother my neighbors and they don’t bother me.” Douglas said he and his son have STRs in rural Ogden Valley. He believes due to the lack of neighbors who could be bothered by short-term guests, the ordinance would be unfair to people like his family.
The commissioners heard his opinion and tabled the ordinance for the time being in order to add a provision to the ordinance in these cases. Froerer stated, “We need to come up with a compromise to make as many people happy as possible.”
While the ordinance is currently tabled, the county has already hired a third-party agency out of Minnesota that will handle all STR violation complaints on a 24/7 basis. Froerer told ABC4 that currently, the county doesn’t have the resources (in-house) to deal with complaints on nights and weekends. The county will pay just under $30,000 annually for this service.