Douglas County Vacation Home Rental program up for debate Thursday

Kurt Hildebrand / The Record-Courier
A map of active vacation home rentals in Douglas County.

STATELINE, Nev. — About a year and a half after county commissioners approved a new vacation home rental ordinance, they are scheduled to debate repealing the program.

Commissioners are scheduled to meet jointly with the Vacation Home Rental Advisory Committee 10 a.m. Thursday in the Revolution Room of the Hard Rock Casino in Stateline.

On the agenda, is an update from county staff on the current status of the program. After that commissioners will discuss elimination or modification of the program and should commissioners vote to repeal the program, direct staff to make changes to the code.

Vacation home rentals are only permitted in the Tahoe Township. Most of the 532 permits are for smaller Tier 1 rentals.

Tahoe Douglas Neighborhoods Group organizer Linda Dengler has a petition to eliminate vacation rentals from single family homes and high-density housing in residentially zoned neighborhoods.

Since she announced the petition 227 people have signed it as of Tuesday evening.

Some residents supplement their ability to live at Lake Tahoe by renting their homes out in the weekend.

Resident Edmond Alberton said he bought a place in Tahoe Village for winter weeks and summer months.

“We went through this process because renting our home to short-term renters is the only way we can afford to have this family to enjoy,” he wrote in a letter to commissioners.

Alberton asked commissioners not to punish those who follow the rules because of those who don’t.

But neighbors of some of those vacation rentals who say they are commercial business and don’t belong in neighborhoods.

“We are residents whose lives have been turned upside down by commercial businesses being in our residentially zoned neighborhoods,” resident Kathryn Bricker wrote.

Realtor Megan Briese pointed out that the new vacation home rental advisory board hasn’t had an opportunity to submit its suggestions for the new ordinance.

“Tahoe has always been a tourist town,” she said. “This ban would be a detriment to the economy and things the taxes and fees pay for.”

Stateline resident ben Harmon said he feared that continuing to allow VHRs will have permanent residents move away.

“As unfortunate as it is to impact considerate long-term family owners, I don’t see how we can make exceptions for them while adequately protecting our residential neighborhoods and upholding residential zoning.”

Resident Don Broton said he and his wife are serving in the military and plan to make their home a permanent residence.

“If you eliminate our ability to rent our home, we will be forced to sell it, since our military pay is not high enough to afford out home,” Broton said.

Some residents say they can see both sides.

“Homeowners have the right to rent their house,” Holly Claypatch said. “We do believe that there should not be large gatherings at these houses. The amount of people staying or visiting the rental should be limited to the approved occupancy.”

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