Letter: Consider fees, not a ban, to fix VHR issues (opinion)
September 18, 2018
I'm a resident of San Francisco and my vacation home is in South Lake Tahoe in a residential neighborhood. I've been closely following the issues debating vacation home rentals. The city of SLT doesn't have a numerous police staff to handle nuisance complaints as other cities do.
Thus, the residents are frustrated by the lack of enforcement for issues like noise, too many vehicles taking up public streets and poor trash management. The residents have been driving the idea to ban vacation home rentals in South Lake Tahoe and to make it very difficult to obtain a VHR permit at all. They have been pressuring their city elected officials to over regulate VHRs, ban them and send the very clear message of "You're not welcome to relax and vacation in OUR residential neighborhoods."
While I sympathize with the local residents' frustration at the lack of enforcement, there is another way to secure enforcement of the complaints other than relying on the local police. Hosting websites like Airbnb have built in features for towns and cities to add various fees that go directly to the city coffers, like TOTs (transient occupancy taxes) as well as additional fees that could fund a permanently recognizable 24/7 security task force to drive around to respond to any nuisance complaints.
VHR owners also could be required to pay an additional fee to support this task force as a requirement for permit attainment. It would solve the residents' complaints and provide more jobs as well as ensure greater peace to the residential neighborhoods. Fees also could be added to help residents bring their BMPs into compliance, keep Tahoe blue, and go to fund longterm housing options, etc.
South Lake Tahoe has never been a private, gated, residential community for a small, privileged few to enjoy. Rather it is a well-established, year-round global tourist destination with a very long history of Bay Area/Sac co-ownership.
Our rights and opinions are to be respected just as much as the locals since we all pay property taxes on our homes.
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Instead of banning, please consider fees.
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