South Lake Tahoe City Council moving forward with VHR cap
At a special meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 3, South Lake Tahoe City Council settled on a cap of 1,400 vacation home rental (VHR) permits in residential areas outside of the tourist core. They also agreed to a “minimum distance standard” of 150 feet between VHRs to eliminate clustering and create a “bright line” for permit approval. Homeowner associations can apply for an exemption to this rule, which city staff calculated would eventually bring down the number of VHRs to around 1,288.
These code amendments, along with a handful of other changes, will get a first reading at the next Council Meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 17. Following a second reading at the next meeting, it will go to a vote.
During the eight-hour meeting, Council discussed and agreed upon requiring bear boxes, ranging from 2- to 4-can sizes, based on the square footage of the home. All existing VHRs need to meet this new requirement by July 2018. Additionally, the occupancy was reduced from two people per bedroom plus four, down to two per bedroom plus two.
As for the roughly 110 VHR applications currently pending, they will be processed under the existing ordinance until the new law goes into effect.
When the new code is passed, VHR owners are required to follow all rules that apply to renters with exceptions. VHR owners can apply for an unlimited number of permits with the city for special events that would exceed occupancy.
The warning for a code violation has been removed, and if a property receives three violations within a two-year period, its permit will be revoked. The fine has also been bumped up from $250 to $1,000.
Lastly, City Council decided to hire three new community service officers (CSOs). Their salaries will be paid for by increasing the annual VHR permit fee by $300. This will eventually bring the number of VHR-specific CSOs to five.
It has yet to be determined if the city will hire Host Compliance, a technology-based service used to track down unpermitted VHRs, collect unpaid lodging taxes and handle complaints through a call center. The company made a presentation to City Council in September. City Manager Nancy Kerry said they are required to send out a request for proposal before they can hire a company.
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