Washoe County allocates nearly $1 million to agencies in Lake Tahoe, settle STR dispute in Tyrolian Village

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev.— The Washoe County Board of County Commissioners approved another allocation of funds to multiple entities on the North Shore, including to the Incline Village Crystal Bay Community & Business Association and the Tahoe Prosperity Center. 

The monies allocated are available from the American Rescue Plan Act funds through the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, which saw the county receive $91.5 million two years ago. The county has been allocating funds ever since. 

The money granted during the meeting on Tuesday, July 18, totaled $6,231,494, with funds going to multiple entities in Washoe County, including multiple related to Lake Tahoe. 

Recipients include $400,000 to the Tahoe Micro Transit Pilot Project in support of increasing public transit option in North Lake Tahoe, $350,000 to the Tahoe lending Locals Project to incentivize Lake Tahoe homeowners to provide long-term rentals to residents rather than short-term vacation rentals, $75,000 to IVCBA in support of the Incline Mainstreet initiatives, $47,500 to Tahoe Prosperity Center in support of the Envision Tahoe Program to diversify and strengthen the economy in Lake Tahoe, and $37,500 to the Tahoe Transportation District for Washoe County’s FY24 annual contribution. 

In addition to the Coronavirus SLFRF funds allocated, the board also approved a $10,000 grant to the Clean Tahoe Program to aid the organization in improving the visual environment for Washoe County portions of Incline Village and Crystal bay through proper litter and trash management and public education. 

Towards the end of the meeting, the board reconsidered the BCC’s grant of appeal of the Washoe County Director of Planning and Building’s partial approval of a STR at Tirol Drive. 

Previously, the Planning and Building department approved the property in Tyrolian Village as a Tier-2 STR with a maximum occupancy of 14 persons to homeowner Sanjay Gupta. On May 9, the board granted an appeal to the decision based on factual findings that the subject property only has two parking spaces, which limits the occupancy to eight people in accordance with Washoe County code. 

On May 16, Chairwoman Alexis Hill requested that the item come back for reconsideration by the board due to Commissioner Hill’s worry that the board got too entangled with HOA CC&R’s rather than applying the permit to WCC. 

“I think last time I reviewed this I got very caught up in those deeds and covenants, and got very confused. I want to stick to the county code,” said Hill. 

Staff received a letter from the HOA of Tryolian Village legal counsel that confirmed, “There are two spaces within the garage and then one in the driveway,” and was sent on Jan. 4, 2023. While the appellants claimed they had a new letter from the HOA claiming each parcel only had one parking space allotted each, staff did not find any new information that made the letter sent in Jan. ineffective. 

“And the county code essentially says that the HOA has to supply a letter, the HOA supplied a letter that there was two spots in the garage and one spot on the driveway,” said Hill. “So I’m prepared to move forward with the staff recommended motion.” 

Washoe County legal counsel made sure to point out that the county is not to interfere in the workings of a private HOA. 

“The county is not the master HOA throughout the unincorporated territory,” said legal counsel. “It does not step in and overrule or give direction with regard to CC&Rs or the implantation of them. Again, those are left for the property owners.” 

The appellants, represented by Linda Smith, reported that Tier-2 and Tier-3 STRs had been banned by the HOA of Tryolian Village, meaning that even though the board ultimately approved the Tier-2 permit for homeowner Sanjay Gupta, he would be breaking HOA rules by enforcing the permit for his STR from the county. 

“That’s not for you to enforce,” said legal counsel. “The fact that you do or do not approve an STR permit application does not allow the owner to escape application of CC&Rs that do in fact bind that owner.” 

Gupta was thrilled with the permit increase from the county, meaning now he can host his extended family on his property. 

“I don’t want to create issues of the neighbors,” said Gupta. “I want to follow the law, and that’s what I plan to do… I have no ill will for the community even though we’ve gone through a long process. I understand their concerns and we will try our best to make sure that this is not an issue for them.” 

While many in Incline Village worry about the growing number of STRs in the area, Hill responded by noting the board will be discussing a STR cap in Incline Village, as well as increasing STR fees in August after several comments were made by the public. 

“That’s something we definitely need within this community,” said Hill. 

The motion was approved 4-1, with Commissioner Michael Clark voting against the approval of the Tier-2 permit. Clark commented that he was thinking about the community that has to live in the area full time, and felt that the board was being asked to be mediator for a squabble among neighbors. 

“This is a homeowners association issue,” said Clark. “This is tough. On one end, you got private property ownership. On the other side, you got homeowners that are affected by this.” 

If Gupta decides to host his home as a Tier-2 STR, the HOA could chose to bring the situation to civil court. 

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