El Dorado County updates VHR ordinance | TahoeDailyTribune.com

El Dorado County updates VHR ordinance

Dawn Hodson
Mountain Democrat

PLACERVILLE, Calif. — Changes to the county’s vacation home rental ordinance was unanimously approved by the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors on March 19.

Defined as a short-term rental where the full unit is rented to paying guests for less than 30 days, over the past few years the number of VHRs in El Dorado County, and their effects on residential neighborhoods, has led to a need for more regulations and better enforcement.

Currently staff said the total number of VHR permits, including those on the West Slope and the Tahoe Basin, is 929, an increase of 13 percent from 2018 and an overall 46 percent increase since 2010.

An issue primarily affecting the Tahoe area, of the current 929 VHR permits, those in the unincorporated areas of South Lake Tahoe number 856; the number for the West Slope is 73. But that total does not include the permits that are currently in process, estimated at 44 new ones and 92 renewals.

Previously a VHR ad hoc committee recommended a number of changes to the existing VHR ordinance including establishing clear rules and expectations for owners, managers and renters and better enforcement of the rules. With that came a shift of responsibilities in many areas from the El Dorado Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office to the Department of Planning and Building with the transition fully achieved Jan. 1.

Included in the board’s approval was adding two people in order to provide adequate staffing for VHR public information, permitting and enforcement. Staff reported two new code enforcement officers are in the process of being hired to help with VHR enforcement as well as other enforcement issues.

Staff has also worked to streamline the permitting process by combining the VHR permit and administrative permit into one process concentrated in the Planning and Building Department. That change went into effect Feb. 7.

Previously the board approved establishing fees and safety inspections for VHRs to be performed by local fire districts. Staff reported a number of fire agencies have signed agreements to perform inspections in their districts and have agreed to cover other areas of the county that do not have agreements. The cost of these inspections varies by the size of the home to be inspected.

Other updates have included a reworking of the VHR webpage (bit.ly/ElDoradoVHR) to allow for quick access to resources for owners, local contacts and concerned neighbors with the most frequent complaint lodged against VHRs being noise.

A public-facing, interactive map of all permitted VHRs displaying local contact information and permit status is also now available on-line.

One of the changes to the VHR Ordinance was a requirement for all VHRs to designate a knowledgeable, available, nearby contact person. Regardless of whether the contact is the homeowner or property manager, they will now be required to complete a test in order to prove their knowledge of ordinance rules and VHR best practices.

In order to improve neighborhood compatibility, which has been an ongoing issue with VHRs, the board also expressed an interest in doing something about the “clustering” of too many VHRs in established neighborhoods.

In response, Chief Administrative Officer Don Ashton told the board that because his office will be busy over the next few months working on the budget, addressing the clustering issue will be delayed until October when staff return with an update on their progress in implementing changes to the VHR Ordinance.