Douglas commissioners tweak VHR ordinance, move forward

Kurt Hildebrand
Record Courier
Douglas County's web sites shows where vacation rental permits are in the vicinity of Elk Point at Lake Tahoe. Provided

Introduction of an ordinance to regulate vacation home rentals in Tahoe Township is scheduled to occur on May 20.

Commissioners voted 3-2 to adjust maximum densities in neighborhoods at Lake Tahoe to 15% for single family homes and 20% for multi-family homes.

Commissioners Mark Gardner, Wes Rice and Danny Tarkanian voted for the amendment. Chairman John Engels and Vice Chairman Walt Nowosad voted against.

Nowosad said he believes that the county should stop issuing vacation rental permits entirely and eliminate the use as they expire.

“Then we don’t have a problem anymore,” he said. “We are not responsible for somebody’s successful business.”

The ordinance with the revision will go to Douglas County Planning Commissioners on Tuesday.

Assistant County Manager Jenifer Davidson has been coordinating the effort to revise the county’s vacation rental ordinance since 2017.

“We’ve spent quite a few hours on this,” she said. “I hope that this is the beginning of the culmination of this effort.”

Davidson said that advertisement for a vacation home rental advisory board should go out in the coming days, so that commissioners will be able to appoint that agency the same time they hear the second reading of the ordinance on June 3.

“We would bring forward applications for individuals interested in being on the VHR board at the same meeting, so we’re ready to rock and roll when we put the ordinance in place,” she said.

She proposed enacting the ordinance and then revisiting it after it has been in place for a time so commissioners can determine how effective it has been.

Douglas County has been one of the first in the Tahoe Basin to reach a point where they can fully regulate vacation home rentals.

Residents of the Tahoe basin have long rented out homes to visitors for decades, but with the advent of online booking services like Airbnb, pressure has increased on Tahoe neighborhoods.

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