County approves vacationordinance | TahoeDailyTribune.com

County approves vacationordinance

Rules are more restrictive than city’s rental agreement

By Gregory Crofton

Tribune staff writer

Residents who live next to perpetually noisy, overcrowded vacation rental homes in places like Meyers, Tahoe Paradise or Meeks Bay will have a law to lean on a month from now.

El Dorado County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a vacation rental ordinance for the portion of the county within the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The approval allows the county to meet a six-month deadline the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency set in March for local governments to establish vacation rental ordinances.

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El Dorado County’s ordinance, to take effect Sept. 16, requires vacation homeowners to pay an application fee and obtain a permit to rent their property for less than 30 days at a time.

Those are the same vacation rental regulations adopted by the city of South Lake Tahoe in 2002. The county’s ordinance mirrors those adopted by the city except in two areas.

“Ours holds the (vacationer) accountable for a misdemeanor,” said El Dorado County Supervisor Dave Solaro. “Depending what the issue is, we will prosecute the tenant.”

The misdemeanor could stem from things like noise, garbage disposal and parking violations.

The second difference involves a rule that requires the homeowner or management company or what the ordinance calls a “local contact person” to appear at the vacation rental residence within one hour of a deputy’s request.

If the homeowner or property manager is in violation of any part of the ordinance, penalties range from a warning for the first violation to a $250 fine for the second violation, $500 for a third violation and $1,000 for a fourth violation. A fifth violation could mean the revocation of the permit.

Despite the vote of approval from the county Board of Supervisors, the vacation rental ordinance is still a work in progress that could change in coming months, Solaro said.

The deadline imposed by the TRPA sped up the work process on the ordinance and there are still some issues that need to be sorted out, Solaro said.

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to meet today at Stateline to discuss its agreement with the TRPA regarding vacation rental ordinances. Placer and Washoe counties also are well into their work on their own ordinances, said Julie Regan, TRPA communications director.

The TRPA – a bistate agency charged with regulating growth in the basin and protecting the lake – began looking into the issue of regulating vacation rentals in June 2003.

Deborah Palmer, a lawyer representing the Zephyr Heights General Improvement District, raised the issue at TRPA Governing Board meeting. She told the board that 17 complaints stemming from vacation homes in Douglas County had not be addressed by the county or the TRPA.

– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at gcrofton@tahoedailytribune.com