Washoe County hosting meetings on short-term rentals | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Washoe County hosting meetings on short-term rentals

Washoe County Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler speaks at a meeting Monday in Incline Village.
Ryan Hoffman / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Meetings on short-term rentals

Workshop #1

When: Tuesday, Aug. 20, at 5:30 p.m.

Where: May Museum at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park (1595 N. Sierra St., Reno)

Workshop #2

When: Monday, Aug. 26, at 5:30 p.m.

Where: The Chateau at Incline Village (955 Fairway Blvd., Incline Village)

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The next step in crafting regulations for short-term rentals will come in the form of public workshops intended to gather community input.

Washoe County announced earlier this week that it will host two meetings later this month — one in Reno on Aug. 20 and one in Incline Village on Aug. 26. According to the announcement, county officials hope to collect input that “will be used to assist county staff in their efforts to establish simple, fair and enforceable standards for short-term rentals.”

Specifically, the county is seeking information regarding permitting requirements, fire and guest safety, and possible impacts to quality of life such as parking, trash and noise.

The regulations would apply to unincorporated parts of the county, which includes Incline Village and Crystal Bay.

Short-term rentals, also commonly referred to as vacation home rentals or VHRs, have become an increasingly controversial topic in Incline Village and Crystal Bay.

Several commissioners, including Marsha Berkbigler, who represents the portion of Washoe County at the lake, were present during a community meeting in January focused on the short-term rental issue.

Although opinions expressed publicly at the meeting varied, many expressed a desire to see increased regulation of short-term rentals, which largely operate unregulated in Washoe County.

Despite some calls for one at the January meeting, Berkbigler and fellow Commissioner Bob Lucey dismissed the idea of a ban on short-term rentals.

Following a July public meeting on traffic, Berkbigler told the Tribune she was still ardently against a ban on short-term rentals.

In recent months, the short-term rental topic has dominated the discussion at community meetings in Incline — making it the latest community to raise concerns on the topic, which has become one of the most polarizing at Lake Tahoe.

Voters in South Lake Tahoe narrowly approved a ballot measure, Measure T, in 2018 that would largely eliminate VHRs outside the tourist core after three years of its passage. An unidentified group filed suit after Measure T passed, claiming it was unconstitutional.

Since then, city officials have sought to negotiate a compromise in an attempt to end the litigation and stave off future litigation. Any compromise measure would have to go before voters, per a stipulation in Measure T that requires any changes to the city’s VHR ordinance be put to a vote.

Earlier this year, Douglas County formed a task force to look at regulations for vacation home rentals.

And with more and more residents approaching Placer County officials with complaints of disrespectful tenants, it too is now evaluating whether to enact stricter regulations on property owners.

TRPA working group

Individual jurisdictions are not the only ones looking at the issue.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s short-term rental neighborhood compatibility working group met last week to discuss possible changes to TRPA policies. Specifically, TRPA staff suggested adding a third criterion when evaluating whether to allocate development rights to local governments.

The TRPA currently uses two criteria when allocating development rights, using what it calls its “performance review system” to evaluate local jurisdictions. During a roughly three-hour session on Aug. 14, the working group discussed a proposed third criterion aimed at addressing impacts associated with short-term rentals. The criterion would establish a set of best management practices focused on location, operation and enforcement.

Ultimately, the working group continued the discussion to its next meeting in September before taking the draft to the governing board.

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