County: Petition would open East Fork to VHRs

A petition drive to ban vacation rentals in Tahoe neighborhoods would actually open the door for vacation home rentals in the East Fork Township if passed, but only in mixed-use and commercially zoned areas, according to an analysis prepared for county commissioners.

Commissioners agreed to discuss the report at their Oct. 19 meeting at Lake Tahoe, at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency offices at 128 Market St., Stateline.

In East Fork, there are 157 dwelling units in the zones that would allow vacation rentals under the proposed ordinance, according to the report.

According to the county, there are only 10 dwelling units in mixed-use or commercial zones that could be operated as vacation home rentals at Lake Tahoe. Only one has a permit.

Expanding the one in 10 figure at Tahoe, VHR Manager Ernie Strehlow estimated there would be 16-17 units in East Fork that would generate around $60,000. Vacation rentals are currently prohibited in East Fork. That doesn’t account for any increased pressure to convert those should the petition succeed, and voters approve a ban.

Douglas County commissioners were expected to hear a report on the cost of a petition to ban vacation home rentals on Thursday.

“While new Transient Occupancy Tax revenue from increased use of Douglas County hotels could theoretically offset some TOT revenue loses, there is no clear evidence that a substantial reduction in VHRs would lead to an increase in Douglas County hotel use,” Strehlow wrote. “Based on historical data, at best hotel occupancy rates may increase by up to 9 percent.”

Vacation home rentals could end up costing the county $2.39 million and the Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority $3.2 million, according to Strehlow.

Accounting for that increase, lost revenue would be around $1.8 million, with $759,500 used for enforcement eliminated.

On Tuesday, members of the Douglas County Parks & Recreation Advisory Board heard a report on vacation home rentals.

Occupancy tax funds parks in Douglas County.

Five Douglas County residents are distributing a petition to put a ban on vacation home rentals in residential zoning on the ballot.

County commissioners are also scheduled to discuss density of vacation home rentals after 1 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency offices at 128 Market St., Stateline.


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