Sass Talk: VHRs on council agenda, ‘yes’ on Measure C (opinion) | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Sass Talk: VHRs on council agenda, ‘yes’ on Measure C (opinion)

Austin Sass
Mayor of South Lake Tahoe

It's election time and the only local issue is Measure C; an increase of ½ a percent in local sales tax (excluding items such as groceries and prescriptions) for a term of 15 years to fund road rehabilitation. I voted "Yes" because there is no long-term funding solution within the current budget for the foreseeable future. And, our roads are in terrible shape.

I think the fact that both chambers of commerce within town support the measure is a reflection by our business community that the small increase is well worth the upside of better streets. Our college board supports it, as does the Realtor association, our lodging association, the El Dorado County Republican and Democratic parties, the League to Save Lake Tahoe, the Tahoe Daily Tribune, the Mountain News and the El Dorado County Taxpayers Association, too.

There is a reason that all of these local entities are behind the measure. It makes sense. Protection against fraud and illegal use of the funds for other purposes are built into the measure and with an oversight committee blessing all spending, safeguards are in place.

Finally, the longer we wait, the more expensive repairing our streets will become. Just like a car, put off enough oil changes and you will eventually need a new engine. For the sake of our future and our children's future, I hope you will vote "Yes" on Measure C.

Cannabis and VHRs

A lot of people have asked me about subcommittees lately because of the cannabis issue and the VHR issue. A subcommittee starts when council decides an issue requires substantial research, community outreach, possibly the formation of a stakeholder or community workgroup, and would like a recommendation bought back to council. Council members then state who wants to be on the subcommittee and takes a vote if more than two apply.

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After that, council allows the subcommittee to decide how they want to tackle the issue and who should be on the working group. It's their decision on how they go forward, how often they meet, what staff they pull in, and what the criteria is for selecting the working group. At the end of their discussion, the expectation is that they will come back with either a suggested ordinance/policy and the background supporting their recommendations.

Since the Brown Act forbids more than two council members from discussing an issue, the other council members are not privy to what the subcommittee is discussing unless the subcommittee shares such in open session. I hope this helps for those of you who are curious.

VHRs: I'm not sure what will happen next, but council will again be discussing the issue Tuesday, Nov. 7. There is an interim urgency ordinance in place for 45 days preventing new applications from being processed. The two items we will be discussing will be a vote on one of two options regarding a revised interim urgency ordinance.

Option A would exclude the Tourist Core Area from the ordinance and allow those in the que to be processed. Option B will just allow those in the Tourist Core Area to be excluded but not allow those in the queue to be processed. Either option requires 4 votes.

The second item is the revised VHR (Vacation Home Rental) ordinance. The biggest unresolved issue is the cap. Based on our meeting three weeks ago staff is bringing forward a cap recommendation of 1,400 or a cap of 1,200. Council can either agree on one or the other, look at a different number, a different idea that may include a cap or not, or fall shy of the three votes needed to do anything. Unlike the interim urgency ordinance, this only requires three votes to be in agreement. In any case, the interim urgency ordinance would be in effect for 45 days from Tuesday if one of the two options gets four votes.

'Spirit of Competition'

What a great day last week with the unveiling of "The Spirit of Competition" at Champions Plaza near Lakeview Commons. I heard only positive things about the sculpture and basis for the creation of the plaza. It was very special to hear from Travis Cabral, our local national champion and see him and Hannah Teeter, our medal winning Olympian, standing up on the sculpture's pedestal posing for pictures. So proud!

I can't leave this topic without calling out Jim Marino from Public Works and his crew who found the pedestal, installed the sculpture, and set up the night lighting. Also, big kudos to City Manager Nancy Kerry for shepherding the process to conclusion with great assistance from staffers Tina Shannon and Tracy Franklin. Well done!

It's officially shoulder season and traffic has subsided. It's funny how the roads are less congested this time of the year and at the same time we have no road construction going on. It seems like we ought to be doing the work now. For those of you who don't know, we can't dig in the ground after Oct. 15 without special permission from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. The logic: more precipitation equals more runoff.

Thanksgiving is around the corner and I sincerely hope you get the opportunity to spend time with family and friends and take a break before we swing into our winter season. Hopefully, somewhere warm and sunny. Summer was very busy and we all deserve some down time.

As a good winter in the ski business usually begets a good next year, advance bookings look strong within our hospitality sector. I expect our town will see lots of visitation in the months to come and we will all be pretty busy.

A shout out to buddies Scott and Mikey. Hope you heal well and can do your usual thing on the snow. To all the other skiers, riders, snowshoers, back country pow chasers, cross county freshy seekers and snow shovelers, I offer you one piece of advice: STRETCH!

Have a great November.

South Lake Tahoe Mayor Austin Sass can be reached at asass@cityofslt.us and on Facebook by searching Sasstalk.

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