El Dorado supervisors place cap on VHRs at Lake Tahoe

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — El Dorado County Supervisors on Tuesday took the first step in amending the vacation home rental ordinance in the Lake Tahoe Basin, including a cap on the amount allowed.

Supervisors narrowly passed the first reading of an amendment to the VHR ordinance during their Nov. 17 meeting. The ordinance which regulates the VHRs in the basin outside of South Lake Tahoe city limits, adds a cap on the number of VHR permits issued.

While they were in agreement that the ordinance needed to be updated, they disagreed on where the cap for permits should be placed.

The amendment was originally written with a cap of 1,050 which would account for 12% of the housing stock. District 5 Supervisor Sue Novasel, who represents the area, wanted to keep the cap at 12%.

However, Supervisor Shiva Frentzen put forth a motion that would take the cap down to 900 which is about 10%. Currently, the county has about 720 active VHRs in the basin.

The motion to cap at 900 passed 3-2 with Supervisors Brian Veerkamp and Novasel voting no.

When writing the ordinance, staff, with the help of Novasel, considered whether the number should be regulated by a hard cap or clustering the VHRs so they could only be present in certain neighborhoods, similar to what the city did with designating a tourist core.

While they went with the hard cap, supervisors asked staff to come back in December with recommendations on how they could implement clustering instead. Staff will have to get creative because unlike the city, the county doesn’t have a designated tourist core area and is much more rural and spread out.

Another issue raised several times by public comment was the fee for fire inspections being too high with one commenter calling it a “money grab.” He said the fire department spent 5 minutes inspecting his house and he received a bill for over $600.

While the county does not set that fee, Novasel said she will meet with Lake Valley Fire Protection District to discuss a lower fee. She would also like to see them lump in the defensible space inspection along with the fire inspection.

The amendment will be brought back for a second reading at the next meeting on Dec. 2.

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