Work continues on Douglas County VHR ordinance

Kurt Hildebrand
Record Courier

STATELINE, Nev. — Douglas County received 129 applications for larger vacation home rentals during July, exceeding the cap included in the new ordinance by 56.

Only vacation rentals proposing five or more occupants are covered under the 600-unit cap established in the ordinance approved June 3.

In order to determine demand, county officials opened applications to a wait list to see how many they would receive.

“It should be noted that some of the 129 applications may be defective or otherwise not qualify to be issued a permit, and so the actual number of applicants that are placed on the wait list may eventually be much lower than the 56 applications,” Assistant County Manager Jenifer Davidson said in her report to commissioners.

The county used a random selection process to determine where an applicant falls on the wait list. On Thursday, the county will reveal the addresses.

Applicants selected will have 60 days to meet conditions required for a permit and pay their fees. If they fail to meet the deadline the permit will go back into the pool and the next in line will be notified.

One thing that could get applicants kicked off the wait list is advertising or running a vacation rental without a permit.

The ordinance is being challenged in federal court and a judge granted a restraining order on enforcing parts of the new rules.

The make-up of the Vacation Home Rental Advisory Board was one of the issues raised by Judge Robert C. Jones, who dinged the requirement that a majority of the panel be non-VHR permit holders.

The county is accepting applications through Aug. 25 for a new board that will consist of two VHR permit holders, two non-VHR permit holders and one resident of East Fork Township.

Vacation home rentals are prohibited in East Fork, which consists of all of Douglas County outside of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

“No member may be appointed who has expressed opposition to the VHR program or otherwise appears to have a bias that may improperly influence their impartiality as a member of the VHR Advisory Board,” according to the county.

The application deadline is 5 p.m. Aug. 25. Appointments will be made at the Board of County Commissioner’s Meeting held Sept. 2.

This will be the second time the county has appointed a vacation rental advisory board, which is designed to hear appeals by VHR owners, hear applications for rentals with occupancies of 10 or ore people and offer advice to county commissioners.

More information is available at the County Manager’s Office in the Minden Inn, 1594 Esmeralda Avenue in Minden 775-782-9821 or on the Douglas County website:

Planning commissioners last week recommended approval of the ordinance that would address the portions of the ordinance Jones specified in his order.

It was always anticipated that the ordinance, which at least partially went into effect on July 15, would require some work.

However, the ordinance was barely a month old when nine Lake Tahoe property owners filed their lawsuit on July 8.

Among the changes Jones listed were the $20,000 civil penalty for operating an unpermitted vacation rental, which has been revised to indicate the fine can be up to $20,000.

An entire portion of the ordinance that deals with neighbors suing vacation rental owners was stricken in the revised ordinance.

Changes in the operation of the ordinance include suspending penalties pending appeal and specifying that decisions made by the VHR Board may be appealed to Douglas County commissioners.

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