City of South Lake Tahoe Places A Moratorium on Vacation Rentals

As reported by southtahoenow, the City Council of South Lake Tahoe voted to put a moratorium on vacation rentals at the council meeting on 11/7/2017.  Read the full story is here.  Feel free to contact me with any questions about vacation rentals with the City of South Lake Tahoe. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have., 530-416-1955. 

South Lake Tahoe City Council votes to cap VHRs at 1,400


“We need the community to get together and collaborate,” said SLT Councilman Jason Collin during Tuesday’s Council meeting. “Its polarized the community.”

Collin was discussing the South Lake Tahoe Vacation Home Rental Ordinance after another full day of a City Council meeting focused on the subject of vacation homes in the community.

The Council had three items to vote on concerning Vacation Home Rentals (VHRs) outside of the Tourist Core Area. Concerning the 45-day Urgency Ordinance: A) Would allow exiting applications, city would not receive any new applications after today, or B) Pending applications are subject to moratorium, city would not process any new applications. The third was voting on a new VHR ordinance.

Not only has the discussion polarized the community, but it has created dissent on the council.

Council members Collin, Wendy David and Brooke Laine all voted to continue with an urgency ordinance which bans new VHR permits for 45 days except for the 93 applications already received and awaiting a hearing.

“It’s a matter of fairness and justice to look at those in the cue,” said Collin, something Laine and David agreed with.

“We have changed the rules on these people mid-stream and then its ‘lights out’,” said Laine. “Our intention was to never be unfair to those who in good faith were following the process.”

But Mayor Austin Sass held firm to his “no” and wouldn’t compromise and allow those who’ve already applied to be considered until the new ordinance is passed.

Since it’s an urgency ordinance they were working on, all four council members present had to approve. Councilman Tom Davis was recused from the discussion as is part owner of the Tahoe Keys Resort, a large vacation home rental agency.

Also up for vote was an amended VHR ordinance. Council had to decide if the cap on VHRs should be 1,200 or 1,400 outside of the Tourist Core Area. There are currently 1,397.

They passed a cap of 1,400 VHRs in the non-Tourist Core area with a vote of 3-1, with Sass casting the lone dissent. He wants to prevent the threat of a ballot measure in 2018, something a few vocal opponents to vacation rentals have initiated.

This vote required approval by only three of the four council members so Sass’s vote of “no” didn’t hold it from passing.

“There is a section of people in our town do not like them (VHRs),” said Sass. “On other side, you have people who bought (a home) in good faith, and industries who service VHRs. Wiping out those who bought in good faith is not a path I want to go down. There is the threat of a ballot measure. My decision is influenced by that threat.”

“If VHRs get banned in our city and disappear, the economic Armageddon will be beyond what I want to fathom,” added Sass. “The loss of $2M to the City, the recreation center would be in jeopardy and real estate values could go down substantially.”

Several people attending the meeting spoke up, some of the familiar faces and some new ones.

One of those was Amanda Ross of Sacramento. She drove up for the meeting as they are looking forward to being a new resident in South Lake Tahoe now that their home is in escrow.

“I think its important that you look at how to enforce illegal VHRs,” said Ross. “There are a lot of other cities out there using data, look at other cities as you don’t have to be alone in this. Things that work for everybody. I’ts great to have a stick, but you need a hammer.”

Enforcement of the rules has long been what those on both sides of the issue have asked for. There are three people in the new hire process to be on the VHR enforcement team. They are waiting for background checks to be completed, said City Manager Nancy Kerry.

The new ordinance includes a higher fine structure than the previous one. If there are three or more upheld citations for violations of the City Code at the vacation home rental property within a twenty-four (24) month period, the owners will lose their ability to rent out their home as a VHR.

Other changes from the October 17, 2017 Ordinance are:

• Correct the bear box requirement to state the number of cans per bear box, not the number of “bear boxes.” Homes less than 2,500 feet are required to have a two-can box, 2,500 to 3,500 square feet must have a 3-can box, and greater than 3,500 square feet a 4-can box.

• Remove the maximum density standard

• Return occupancy figures to the current VHR ordinance (two persons per room plus
four), with no exceptions for children.

• Clarify permit expiration date is the date listed on the permit

• Hot tubs will not be used between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.

• Remove HOA exemption

• Applicants who are in line, waiting for permit will be determined by dated application is submitted. All fees must be paid to be put into this cue. First in line gets the right to have next permit, and if applicant declines to move forward with permitting process, the opportunity will go to the next person in line.

At a later date, a few components of the ordinance will be evaluated. They are: • Shared homes, how and when a “VHR Homeowner” may use their home when not renting it out as a VHR.

“When you look at the problem, you look at what are the issues?” said Mayor Pro-Tem Wendy David. “Enforcement is an issue. Bad apples will eliminate some saturation. There is serious VHR fatigue. We need a cap so we can see how we do within that cap. I think this is a good ordinance.”

The Council said they will continue to review what is, and what isn’t working, and anything in the ordinance can be adjusted should data and other evidence show that is necessary.

There is a new meeting added to the SLT City Council schedule for November 21, 2017. At this meeting a second reading of the ordinance will be read, and if approved at that time it will go into effect on December 21.

#VHR, #CityofSouthLakeTahoe, #vacationrentals, #oliverlux, #tahoekeck

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