Letter — We need to remember full-time residents
After reading the recent articles on TRPA and vacation rentals, I would like to discuss the issue from another point of view. The point of view I would like to explore is that of the year-round Tahoe resident — those of us who work here, send our children to local schools and vote in local elections.
Dozens of houses in Tahoe in neighborhoods ranging from the most modest to the most expensive have been purchased by investors who ignore zoning ordinances and create illegal tourist units. Houses purchased for this purpose are often illegally chopped up to create sleeping space for as many people as possible. An engineer who reviews house plans for permit said that she is seeing more and more houses that are obviously designed to sleep as many humans as possible — with floor plans that are not usable for families. This must be what TRPA is attempting to stop — the building of mini-motels — perhaps next door to you.
Vacation rentals are made cheaper by sharing the cost with as many folks as possible so houses are frequently packed with an extraordinary number of people. Because vacationers don’t really live here and are having a good time, they often speed up and down the streets at all hours in ignorance of our children, our pets and our peace. Locals tell of lap dancers appearing at the house next door to them, of hot tub parties replete with nudity and loud music, of visitors parking anywhere and everywhere, all night fraternity parties, of having porta potties delivered to adjacent lawns, tourists dropped off by shuttle buses and more.
The disruption created by party houses is one of the reasons locals are leaving the hill. As locals are replaced by tourists, many of our community-oriented businesses will be impacted. For the most part, tourists do not receive routine medical, dental, or chiropractic care while on vacation. Nor do they buy durable goods. Such businesses are supported by people who live here. The motel owners suffer financially when they pay huge fees to operate only to have the tourist drawn out into the neighborhoods.
Property managers and some others in the real estate business are the most vocal defenders of vacation rentals. We support their right to make a decent living but I think that a good living can be made without turning our neighborhoods into commercial zones.
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