Four seek vacant seat on Vacation Rental advisory panel

For the second time in two weeks, the Vacation Home Rental Advisory Committee will be on County Commissioners’ agenda, this time to fill a vacancy on the panel.

Original committee member Michael Sloan resigned after the committee completed its revisions to the ordinance that is currently under revision by the county.

Four Lake Tahoe residents are up for the vacancy, including VHR permit holders Dreu Murin and Glen Wolfson. Applicant Ken Burrows is a former permit holder and Heidi Gunter is a property manager for several renters.

Wolfson sits on the Zephyr Cove General Improvement District.

Meanwhile, Douglas attorneys are sifting through the changes proposed for the ordinance after a six-hour meeting at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on April 10.

Douglas County has been wrangling with regulating vacation home rentals for five years. Tahoe residents have rented their homes to vacationers for decades, but the advent of booking services such as AirBnB eased the process for owners, though not their neighbors.

County commissioners voted to eliminate a proposed five-tier system and keep the current three-tier system.

“I don’t see where the tier system is broken,” Commission Chairman Mark Gardner said. “If we change it we get into a lot of weeds.”

Commissioner Wes Rice agreed, saying the permit process shouldn’t require someone to hire an attorney.

“I live right around the corner from one of the more notorious party houses,” Rice said. “Since they lost the ability to be a Tier 3, over the last eight months we’ve had not one problem.”

For occupancy, commissioners seemed to favor reserving the plus two option for those 18 and younger for families.

A controversial component is the allowance of up to 50 people be at a vacation rental during the day. The owner of an address on Tina Court said they no longer advertise weddings and events.

A compromise to lower the daytime number to double the advertised nighttime occupants.

Density of vacation home rentals has been contentious, and commissioners favored the advisory committee’s original 15 percent for both single and multi-family homes and 40 percent at Tahoe Village.

With the exception of Commissioner Walt Nowosad, who said he’d like to see vacation home rentals reduced as people drop out of the program.

Last week there were 535 vacation home rentals in Tahoe Township, below the cap of 600.

Committee chairwoman Mickie Hempler expressed a desire to eventually customize densities for individual neighborhoods, but felt she was out of time. Gardner agreed with that plan and suggested that be something the advisory panel tackle next.

The revised ordinance is expected to return to county commissioners for a first reading on May 2 and for adoption on June 6, two days shy of the two-year anniversary of its original approval.


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