Hayden City Hall is located along US 40 in the heart of downtown Hayden. l John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot and Today

While its neighbors to the east have been in a contentious battle for nearly a year over how and where short-term rentals should be allowed to operate, the town of Hayden is having its own conversation on the matter.

Hayden will allow vacation home rentals — an entire house being rented without a full-time resident living there — in the commercial district of the city only, treating the units like businesses.

Those wishing to rent a garage, basement or extra bedroom in their primary residence – a standard short-term rental – will be able to do so in residential areas.



Mary Alice Page-Allen, Hayden’s director of planning and economics, said the practice has always been the unofficial rule, but the town’s planning commission wanted to codify the issue in its community development code on as soon as possible.

“We have an opportunity with our development code update to reinforce the differentiation between a vacation home rental and a short-term rental,” Page-Allen said in a Thursday, Feb. 3, interview. “We treat what is generally considered a vacation home rental, home or second home that you don’t live in as accommodation in Hayden.”



Page-Allen said the town doesn’t have a short-term rental problem, as there are only a small handful of vacation home rentals, and all but one are in the area neighborhood. commercial and therefore comply with city rules.

A search on AirDna, a website that tracks short-term rental listings in various communities, shows the city has seven active listings on Airbnb and VRBO, the most common websites for finding a rental.


“There are probably people who think we don’t have a problem, but because we had to do some differentiation in our code, it provided an opportunity for discussion,” Page-Allen said. “We determined it was appropriate to be proactive and make sure we were clear.”

City Manager Mathew Mendisco said that as Steamboat Springs continues to become more expensive and Hayden maintains its trend of a rapidly expanding population, the city is trying to find a balance between welcoming visitors, maintaining affordable units for young families and maintaining its small town character. and close-knit community.

“How do you find a balance between tourism acceptance and hospitality without compromising the integrity of your community? Mendisco said. “The integrity of these neighborhoods is so important to us, and we will never lose sight of that.”

Mendisco said Yampa Valley Regional Airport, which is Hayden’s current greatest economic asset, has a significant, albeit indirect, impact on the city, as most of those who arrive at the airport visit Steamboat. .

“Indirectly, tourism has a huge impact on Hayden,” Mendisco said.

As to whether or not tourism will ever make up a bigger part of the city’s central economy, Mendisco said he wasn’t sure, but codifying the short-term rental rule is part of the process. larger conversation across Routt County: As Steamboat continues to become more popular and more expensive, what is happening to its neighboring townships?

The Town of Oak Creek recently voted to put a cap on all short-term rentals in the town, as city council members said they noticed an increase in such units and wanted to preserve the affordability and character of the town. city.

Meanwhile, Steamboat has been in a nine-month moratorium on vacation home rental applications, which is due to expire on June 30. The city’s planning commission has also had several discussions about potential overlap areas where overnight rentals could be allowed, restricted or prohibited.