Is it too early to give up on VHRs?

Douglas County has worked to establish some workable means to regulate vacation home rentals over the last four years, and just when it seems like the program has its legs under it, a 3-2 vote by commissioners could chuck the whole thing.

Commissioner Walt Nowosad has been pretty clear all along that he thinks VHRs permits shouldn’t be renewed and that vacation rentals are a business and should be conducted as such instead of in the neighborhoods.

That’s a valid point of view supported in part by the fact that the rentals are prohibited in the East Fork Township.

But there are lots of Douglas County businesses that are conducted out of people’s homes.

The county doesn’t have a business license, though it does require businesses to register names every five years. There hasn’t been a home occupation permit process for more than a decade.

That laissez faire approach seems to work for most folks who work out of their homes. With the coronavirus outbreak, more people than ever are conducting business remotely, whether as independent contractors or for an employer.

This very editorial was written out of a staffer’s home instead of an office.

Just as Nowosad is opposed to having VHRs at all, there are proponents of spreading the program to the rest of the county.

We’re fine with waiting on that until we’ve seen evidence that the program actually works at the Lake, though we believe demand for a vacation rental in Carson Valley will be significantly lower.

The key to keeping vacation rentals, or any home business for that matter, is staying on good terms with your neighbors.

As we celebrate Independence Day, we should remember that our country was founded on the principals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There’s very little that’s quite so American as being allowed to profit from your own property. By the same token, keep in mind that your property rights only extend to your property. Other people have a right to enjoy their property, as well. Keeping a balance between those rights within the neighborhoods is paramount.

Maybe it’s all the effort that went into the vacation home rental program that makes us reluctant to see it repealed.

Or maybe it’s that Douglas County is still going to be on the hook to pay to enforce a ban on VHRs without the source of revenue the permit process provides. It’s pretty much a given that the county would end up in court defending a ban at some point.


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