Initiative maintaining South Lake Tahoe VHR cap fails to qualify for ballot (updated)
Jerry Williams, co-president of the Sustainable Community Alliance, issued this statement Thursday:
“Our signature gatherers appeared to have made critical mistakes on local addresses making many signatures invalid. The numbers reported in the media are based on a sample of 500 out of the total of more than 1800 signatures submitted. We are still working with the City and County regarding signature validation. We apologize to all of the business owners, employees, and local residents who support our initiative. We want to let everyone know we hold fast to our position and we will continue to move forward with our efforts to protect our neighborhoods and our local economy. We will have more information on SCA direction in the next few days.”
An initiative seeking to lock in the city’s current vacation home rental cap has failed to make the November ballot.
The initiative, which sought to combat a competing initiative asking voters to phase out VHRs in residential areas, failed to gain enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.
According to a statistical analysis, initiative backers turned in 896 valid signatures out of a total 1,843. They needed 1,005 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.
Given the current timing and the desire of City Council, the other VHR initiative is essentially a lock to appear on the November ballot by itself.
The Sustainable Community Alliance, a committee backed by Realtor groups, put the VHR initiative forward in an effort to prevent what they say amounts to a ban on VHRs outside a very small area within the city.
Their initiative aimed to maintain the city’s current cap of 1,400 VHRs outside the tourist core. Only a vote of the people could change the cap under the failed initiative.
When the alliance submitted its signatures in late May, backers pointed to the speed with which they gathered the signatures as a sign that the community wanted to strike a balance between enforcement and economic gains.
“South Lake Tahoe residents want to protect our neighborhoods and our local economy,” Jerry Williams, co-president of the Sustainable Community Alliance, said in a press release at the time. “Many of us have been working to find a compromise for a very long time. The Restrictions Measure addresses concerns about noise and occupancy, while preserving the economic benefit Vacation Home Rentals bring to our community.”
Williams could not immediately be reached for comment. The Tribune also left a request for comment with the Sustainable Community Alliance.
The Tahoe Neighborhoods Group is behind the initiative seeking to rid residential areas of vacation homes. The group, which has spearheaded several successful ballot initiatives in the past, learned earlier this month that the VHR-phase-out initiative qualified for the ballot.
City Council will receive an abbreviated report on potential impacts of the measure at its July 17 meeting, where it will decide to either adopt the initiative or officially place it on the ballot.