Weber County Residents Upset About Illegal Short-Term Rentals Popping Up

Aug 5, 2020, 5:06 PM | Updated: 5:11 pm

OGDEN, Utah – The Weber County Commission hosted a meeting for residents to voice their complaints about the growing number of unregulated short-term rentals in the area.

About two dozen people were in the commission chambers Tuesday night, while another 100 residents joined the meeting via a video conference call.

Resident Jack Jones told KSL, “My family has lived in Ogden Canyon for 22 years. This issue started sprouting a few years ago, but COVID has really brought the crowds.”

Weber County researchers said hotel occupancy dropped 60% during April and May while short-term rentals saw an 18% increase in revenue and occupancy.

Commissioners acknowledged that while some people who put up homes and guest houses for rent are compliant, others in Ogden Canyon are getting a tax break by claiming their secondary residence to be their primary home.

Many of those same homeowners are using their property as short-term rentals without using third-party outlets like VRBO or Airbnb.

Officials on the Weber County Planning Commission said Weber County has roughly 1,000 hotel rooms — compared to Utah County with 4,400 rooms.

“These people are filling a need in a dishonest way. We know people want to come and recreate here,” said Gage Froerer, Weber County commissioner. “How do we monitor? How do we regulate these people who want to take advantage of the short-term rental market? These are our priorities.”

Weber County Commissioners received 66 email submissions, which totaled more than 100 pages of complaints from Ogden Canyon residents.

“We have seen increased crime, increased traffic, parking is atrocious and the noise and garbage have doubled,” Jones said. “We want to preserve the character of the neighborhood.”

Last week, in the incorporated area surrounding Herriman, officers with the Unified Police Department closed off a neighborhood during a four-hour standoff. Tactical teams were needed after three men in a short-term rental property in the Rose Canyon area reportedly fired multiple shots into another home.

Weber County Commissioners took questions from concerned homeowners.

“We trust that our county government will take the right steps. We have a beautiful lodging operation in the canyon that serves the purpose of short term rentals,” Jones said. “Those who are cheating the system are creating loss for the overall community.”

The county Planning Commission will take up the issue with individual hearings for the Upper Valley and the Western Weber Valley areas.

Public comment will follow.

“This becomes an enforcement issue for the county, and we have limited resources to follow through,” Commissioner Froerer said.  “We plan to work on licensing.”

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Weber County Residents Upset About Illegal Short-Term Rentals Popping Up