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Government working on vacation rental issues

Dave Solaro, El Dorado County supervisor

The question of vacation rentals — What are they to you? To our Community? To our economy?

These questions and others have recently evoked widely varying viewpoints.

Differences of opinions have arisen as the popularity and inventory of vacation rental accommodations appears to have grown in the last several years. Internet sites allow easy access for would-be visitors from around the nation and the world to independently research the location, type and price of their accommodations.

Vacation rentals are not new to our community, however. The use around the lake became recognized when homes were offered as alternative housing for the 1960 Olympics; gaining in popularity as second homeownership was made more affordable with offsetting income derived from renting a home out occasionally. Low interest rates and economic booms have more recently offered investment incentives in many resort communities. In fact, the question of vacation rentals is being dealt with from Hawaii to Florida and in most resort communities within California.

The issues of noise, parking garbage, neighborhood character, respect, communication, and recently, the issues of affordable housing, zoning and economics are all a part of the discussions happening at the chamber, the city, and counties and at the TRPA. Even our state senator and assemblyman are weighing in with editorials and a town hall meeting.

In my meetings with TRPA, they recognize the importance of vacation rentals in a resort community. The TRPA Local Government committee has asked staff to work with local jurisdictions on solutions to these issues and will bring back recommendations to the Governing Board. Though the current zoning law does not adequately acknowledge vacation rentals in residential zones, it is likely TRPA and local jurisdictions will amend their ordinances to recognize this use and will design rules that address any impacts on neighborhoods.

Notably, the city of South Lake Tahoe has already adopted an ordinance that takes on many of these issues. I’ve asked our planners at El Dorado County to anticipate adopting the exact ordinance for consistency sake to best utilize code compliance resources, data collection, enforcement policies, and community input and oversight measures. A community oversight committee has already been appointed and is now meeting to discuss this ordinance and will report to the City Council in October. At that point, we will know better how things are working.

In the meantime, disrespectful behavior in a vacation rental property is unacceptable to everyone, including and not especially the professional property management companies. Disrespectful behavior at any time, anywhere, is always unacceptable in our community. We are working closely with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department to address these issues and are keeping track of problem homes. Though the number of police and sheriff calls to vacation rental homes are only 3 percent of calls are attributed to vacation rental homes, they are taken seriously and citations are issued in the county through California Penal Code if necessary. El Dorado County’s new ordinance will be able to bring broader ‘”Form and function” to the specific issues of garbage, parking, overcrowding, noise and the appropriate penalties applied for any abuses.

It is worth noting that the property management companies are in complete agreement, and have always been, that negative impacts on neighborhoods should not be tolerated. They have been an active part of the solutions to address these issues and should be commended for their proactive role. Finding solutions for negative experiences is not an easy thing. The community has come together to participate in these discussions and together we can create the solutions.

As the chairman of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board, and as your county supervisor, I am dedicated to making sure the solution solves the problem. I am also dedicated to fully understanding the complex issues, from economics to nuisances, and everything in between. It matters to me how you are impacted as a neighbor, a business owner, a teacher, an employee or a public agency representative; your opinion matters.

Thank you for your patience and especially for being a part of the solution.

— Dave Solaro is an El Dorado County supervisor from South Lake Tahoe


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