South Lake Tahoe vacation rental ordinance discussion continues
South Lake Tahoe City Council, on Tuesday, April 5, continued deliberation about vacation rental management. New guidelines went into effect in October 2015, and have since been the subject of scrutiny and debate.
City staff asked council for more clarification on aspects of the VHR ordinance in February — including enforcement of the number of guests allowed in a unit, parking requirements, hot tub code restrictions and more. Topics last week included how the city enforces occupancy restrictions, VHR inspections, parking site assessments and more.
“The council spoke at length about whether to include multi-family dwellings in the VHR Ordinance,” said Tracy Franklin, South Lake Tahoe spokeswoman, regarding Tuesday’s meeting. “They did not make a decision on this.”
So far, 33 VHR citations were issued by the city in 2016.
“A VHR requires a one-time inspection,” Franklin explained, in reference to the current ordinance. “A VHR may need to be reinspected is if more than 12 months lapsed and the owner of the VHR did not renew their permit. Another example is if a new owner purchases a property that had formerly been used as a VHR, but the previous owner did not renew their VHR permit within the 12-month time frame, allowing it to expire — then the new property owner would have to have the property re-inspected.
“The installation of a 400-square-foot driveway, which allows for the parking space for two vehicles, does not trigger the need for a site assessment. Please note that today’s construction standards require paved driveways for all new construction.”
The purpose of the updated ordinance, according to city officials, is to better govern local vacation rentals — which have long caused controversy in the area — and to streamline vacation rental applications.
Since adoption, some vacation rental owners and managers have complained to the city of excessive regulation and confusion about new processes.
“After a lengthy discussion, council voted to not take any action (at Tuesday’s meeting) and to send the VHR ordinance back to the subcommittee,” Franklin said. “The VHR subcommittee, consisting of Wendy David and Austin Sass, will be meeting with local experts in the vacation home rental industry to further discuss and bring recommendations back to city council.
“Council did not specify a day to bring it back,” she added. “It will be dependent on the subcommittee meeting.”
CITY SEEKS RESEARCH CONSULTANT
The City of South Lake Tahoe is also seeking to partner with a university and/or consultant on research regarding socioeconomic impacts of vacation rental homes.
“Those that are opposed to regulations for vacation home rentals say that there is no research or proof to show whether or not vacation home rentals have a positive or negative impact on South Lake Tahoe,” Franklin explained. “City council is hoping that a university submits a proposal so that there will be accredited research in their findings during a socioeconomic study.
The report is meant to “assess how VHR’s impact the city, economy, community, housing market and day-to-day quality of life for residents,” according to a news release.
Proposals are due at 5 p.m. on May 6 at city offices and will not be accepted after deadline. They must be sent by U.S. mail or personal delivery. Faxed and emailed submissions will not be accepted.
For more information about the city’s vacation rental ordinance and enforcement, visit http://www.cityofslt.us.