New petition seeks to put VHRs in South Lake Tahoe neighborhoods to a vote
A new petition seeking to put vacation home rentals in South Lake Tahoe residential areas to a vote has been submitted to the city by Tahoe Neighborhoods Group.
At the end of October, South Lake Tahoe residents Dr. Kenneth Weitzman and Daniel Browne, Jr., members of the Tahoe Neighborhoods Group, submitted a petition that sought to eradicate vacation home rentals (VHRs) from neighborhoods outside the tourist core, but allow full-time residents to rent out their homes as they choose.
However, that petition was never circulated.
On Tuesday, Dec. 5, Weitzman and Browne submitted a second Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition to the city with a different set of proposed regulations to govern VHRs.
The new initiative comes after City Council voted to implement a cap of 1,400 VHR permits in residential areas and other enforcement amendments, such as a bear box requirement, stiffer fines and the hiring of additional community service officers for patrolling.
“The City Council has made no reasonable effort to mitigate the negative impacts of vacation rentals on its residents,” reads the new initiative. “As a result, residents are seeking a remedy to the intrusion of vacation home rentals in our residentially zoned neighborhoods.”
The initiative seeks to eliminate all vacation rentals outside the tourist core over a three-year period, with exceptions for permanent residents — defined as a homeowner who resides in the city for a majority of the year and has the tax documents to prove it. Permanent residents would be allowed to rent out their home or a unit on the same parcel for up to thirty days a year — something that was not included in the first version of the initiative.
“Permanent residency would require at least a six month residency,” explained Peggy Bourland, another member of Tahoe Neighborhood Groups. “Restricting a permanent resident to a total of 30 (consecutive or non-consecutive) days per year is more consistent with the idea of a supplemental rental use for the permanent resident.”
The proposed initiative does away with the newly-passed 1,400 cap and puts an expiration date of 2021 for all non-permanent resident VHR permits, including those in multi-family dwelling units, but excluding rentals in the tourist core.
Additionally, it reduces occupancy to two per bedroom (the current ordinance allows two per bedroom plus four) with a maximum occupancy of 12. One paved parking spot for every four occupants also would be mandated.
The initiative does not address short-term room renting in an owner-occupied home, nor does the city’s amended VHR ordinance. Council previously noted that they would address this at a later date.
“Starting in early January, we will be ready to collect signatures,” said Bourland. “Volunteers can be found in front of public buildings, grocery stores and the like. Some petitions will be carried by volunteers in neighborhoods.”
Tahoe Neighborhoods Group will need to collect signatures amounting to at least 10 percent of the number of South Lake Tahoe registered voters in order to get the initiative on the ballot.
According to the El Dorado County Elections Department, the last reported registration was 10,353 voters. This means they would need at least 1,036 valid signatures from registered voters — not just residents — in South Lake Tahoe.
Currently, there are around 1,850 VHR permits in South Lake Tahoe, roughly 1,400 of which are outside the tourist core in residential areas.
In the 2016-17 fiscal year, VHRs generated $3.1 million in transient occupancy tax, up from $2.8 million the year prior.