VHR ordinance up for review April 10

Both the redlines prepared by the Vacation Home Rental Advisory Committee and changes from the March 20 planning commission meeting will go before Douglas County commissioners 10 a.m. April 10 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Commissioners will review the changes from both advisory panels in preparation for a possible first and second reading.

Planning commissioners recommended increasing density of the rentals from 15 to 20 percent. They upheld a proposal to create a five-tier system and agreed to eliminate the “plus-two” occupancy.

VHR committee vice chairwoman Lauren Romain said she felt the committee struck a balance between residents and VHR operators.

Planning Commissioner Kirk Walder sought 14 changes to the ordinance, saying he didn’t agree with many of the changes that had been proposed.

A requirement requiring people to own a property for a year before starting a VHR was recommended for elimination. The proposal was designed to keep speculators from purchasing properties solely for VHRs.

Walder proposed a daytime occupancy of not more than twice the permitted number of people allowed at a rental.

Current code allows up to 50 people at a rental during the day, something that Kingsbury resident Linda Dengler has fought tooth and nail.

While the revised code would reduce that number to the same as the permitted total, it includes a clause that would allow current bookings to continue.

Dengler argued that a residence near her is being operated as a wedding venue, something the owners deny.

An outspoken opponent of the entire VHR program, Dengler is seeking to bring the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency into the discussion.

It was a TRPA rule in 2005 that brought vacation rentals to Douglas County in the first place, though people have rented their Lake Tahoe properties to visitors for decades.

However, it was the advent of online booking services that increased the ease with which owners could rent their property.

Douglas County tackled the issue in June 2021, with the ordinance effective on July 15. A federal challenge resulted in a settlement that was approved at the beginning of 2022.

The Vacation Home Rental Advisory Committee was appointed in October 2021 and conducted more than 60 hours of meetings and took 30 hours of public comment in crafting the revisions, according to VHR Program Manager Ernie Strehlow.

In addition to working on the code, the committee also heard requests to operate Tier 3 rentals and appeals of permit revocations and fines.

On Wednesday, the committee rejected appeals from a Kingsbury operator whose permit was revoked for advertising more rooms than he was permitted.

As of Monday, there were 509 vacation home rentals in the Lake Tahoe portion of Douglas County. Vacation home rentals are not permitted in the East Fork Township.

One of the key contributors to the vacation home rental ordinance currently under review resigned his seat on the advisory committee.

Lake Tahoe resident Michael Sloan gave up his seat, and the county is accepting applications to appoint his replacement. In order to participate in the committee, applicants must be a Douglas County resident, who holds a VHR permit and lives at Lake Tahoe.

Sloan was one of the original members of the committee.

Whomever is appointed to the board would serve out Sloan’s remaining term, which expires at the end of this year. The person may re-apply to the committee for another four year term. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. April 7. The new committee member is expected to be appointed on April 20 by Douglas County commissioners.

To apply online and to see the board eligibility requirements visit https://www.douglascountynv.gov/government/county_boards_and_commissions

Click on Apply to complete an application.

For questions, contact the County Manager’s Office at 775-782-9821 or email AdvisoryBoards@douglasnv.us


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment