Practicing VHR politics

We look at Thursday’s hearing on banning vacation home rentals north of Cave Rock as dress rehearsal for next year’s debate on banning them in residential neighborhoods altogether.

There’s a lot of layers to the debate that has been ongoing for the last five years, at least.

That might be because Douglas County implemented one of the first full ordinances on vacation rentals at Lake Tahoe, so far.

For a jurisdiction that doesn’t even have a business license and rarely pays any mind to other forms of home businesses, the enforcement efforts dealing with vacation home rentals makes them the most regulated form of commerce in the county.

In order to enforce those regulations the county beefed up its code enforcement department from one person to a half-dozen.

And even that isn’t enough for the folks who are petitioning to change the law to ban them in residential neighborhoods.

Petitioners have until the end of February to turn in 4,388 signatures. When the petition is confirmed, county commissioners could amend the ordinance or could put the issue on the ballot.

Just as we anticipate Thursday’s action will likely result in litigation, because that’s where most decisions related to the Lake end up, so do we expect the petition will be litigated.

While petitioners deny the change will cost taxpayers anything, that might not be entirely true. Someone is still going to have to enforce a ban after the source of income from vacation home rentals dries up.


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