SLT to regulate shared rentals; holds off on Loop Road ballot measure
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — After receiving an update on the US 50 South Shore Community Revitalization Project (Loop Road) Tuesday, the South Lake Tahoe City Council voted to postpone an advisory ballot measure.
Staff have looked into rerouting the proposed Loop Road so that it doesn’t split the Rocky Point Neighborhood. However, the reroute would impact businesses in the area and would need additional engineering analysis.
A draft economic analysis also came back for the project and showed that it would have a direct positive impact in the tourist core, but would not directly impact other areas of the city.
Council had requested the analysis include numbers on the potential economic impact the project could have on Lake Tahoe Unified School District students who would be relocated, however, the district was unable to get those numbers out due to the coronavirus crisis.
Both Mayor Pro Tem Tamara Wallace and Councilmember Cody Bass strongly agreed that they could not vote for the project as is, stating they need to consider other options and lock down funding sources.
The council was meant to vote on language for a potential advisory ballot measure but it voted 3-1 (with Mayor Jason Collin recused) to postpone it until the project was more fully formed. Wallace, the only no vote, wanted to follow through with a promise to include voters in the process that the council had made.
The meeting started with a statement from Collin who said while the community may have differing opinions on how to handle the coronavirus crisis, he is proud of how everybody has come together. He also came out strongly in favor of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The first hour of the meeting was taken up with public comment, a lot of which came from BLM protesters. Many asked about police policies involving officer track records and use of force and body cameras. There was also a lot of support for the city to reconsider the South Lake Tahoe Police Department budget, saying money could be better used for education or mental health.
There were also a lot of questions about the death of Lawrence Lee, who died while being arrested in May. However, SLTPD is still awaiting a report on the cause of death and the incident is being investigated.
City manager Joe Irvin said he would work with SLTPD to respond to the public’s questions.
The council also voted to approve an amended budget that includes COVID-19 related updates, like hiring freezes to account for a potential lack of tourism this summer. The council will continue receiving financial updates and said it will make adjustments as needed.
Finally, the council discussed a potential shared rental ordinance. Shared rentals are rentals that are less than 30 days and usually include just a room or wing of a house instead of the whole house. They are not included under the city’s vacation home rental ordinance and after the passage of Measure T. Applications for shared rental businesses licenses recently shot up from 15 to 90.
The council directed city staff to work on an ordinance that tightly regulates the shared rentals, so that the city avoids another Measure T-like fight.
Some of the public comments on that item suggested that allowing shared rentals in residential areas is no different than VHRs in those areas.
Staff will bring back a draft ordinance in a future meeting.
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