Vacation rental ordinance on July 21 agenda |

Vacation rental ordinance on July 21 agenda

South Lake Tahoe’s vacation home rental (VHR) ordinances returns for another debate on Tuesday at 9 a.m. as the city council attempts to wrangle with the subject.

A new proposed ordinance, hammered out by a subcommittee comprised of councilmembers Austin Sass and Wendy David, would require all new VHR applicants to undergo a public notification and hearing process, in addition to annual renewal.

The council attempted to tackle the topic at its June 16 meeting when it voted to approve new fee and fine structures for existing vacation home rentals.

Vacation rentals have been a contentious item topic for years. Realtors and vacation home groups decrying more regulations will hurt the economy and home prices. City leaders new regulations provide a balanced format that allows the public a chance to weigh in.

In a written response to the council, South Tahoe Chamber of Commerce George Alm expressed his organization’s concerns about the proposed ordinance.

“Severe restrictions on vacation rentals will discourage investment, tourism, jobs and revenue to the City of South Lake Tahoe,” Alm wrote. The city should instead enforce its existing ordinance and make the public fully aware the impact new rules could have on the economy.

The David/Sass subcommittee was formed to refine and hone the proposed ordinance.

Applicants who want a VHR in residential areas would be required to submit an application and pay for the city to notify all residents within a 300-foot radius of the proposed site. In the interim, the city would inspect the property.

Should an interested party file a written protest within three days, the city will schedule a public hearing with the zoning administrator to address concerns. Otherwise, the administrator would review the permit and on-site information and approve it unless special requirements are needed.

Proposed requirements include the standard health and safety requirements like emergency lighting, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, as well 24-hour contact information for an owner/property manager, additional parking for homes with five rooms or more, truthful and accurate advertising information.

Exterior 12-inch-by-12-inch signs would need to be posted with local contact info, the maximum number occupants, the VHR hotline and local emergency contact information. Loud noises would be curtailed after 10 p.m. and spas and hot tubs with jets can’t be used between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The city would require a one-time inspection of VHRs during the first annual renewal process.

The draft regulations would apply only to new VHR applicants. Existing ones will be grandfathered into older regulations, so long as the property continues to have the same owner, no physical modifications that expands the number of rooms, the property didn’t incur two or more violations in a year and transient occupancy taxes (TOT) were reported properly.

The council meets July 21 at 9 a.m. at 1901 Airport Road in South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

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