El Dorado supervisors decide on 500-foot buffers around VHRs at Lake Tahoe

Laney Griffo

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday directed staff to pursue 500-foot buffers around vacation home rentals at Lake Tahoe.

The county has been creating and tweaking the VHR ordinance for about four years. In February 2021, supervisors directed county staff to compile data on the possibility of including buffers in the ordinance.

While there is a cap on the number of VHR permits allowed in the Tahoe region, the buffer will force rentals to be more spread out and not clustered within neighborhoods.

Some of the benefits of buffers is to prevent commercialization of neighborhoods and cut back on noise issues.

Currently, there are about 850 VHR permits in the Tahoe region. With a 500-foot buffer in place, each VHR would remove permit availability from an average of 10 surrounding homes or lots, leaving about 974 lots that could be VHRs.

Supervisors in November 2020, placed a cap on the available amount of VHR permits at 900.

Staff also recommended a 1,000-foot buffer around large VHRs but the board told staff to just stick with the 500-foot buffer for now.

Existing VHRs will not be impacted by the buffers. As long as they pay their taxes, renewal and business licenses fees and don’t violate the ordinance, they can keep their permits.

The board was also highly in favor of extending the buffers to VHRs throughout the entire county. With other areas of the county, such as the West Slope, growing in popularity, supervisors want to get ahead of any potential issues like the ones seen in Tahoe.

The supervisors voted unanimously on the direction of the ordinance and asked staff to bring back to the board a first reading with those changes within 90 days.

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