VHR petition undergoing verification

Will 2024 be the year that vacation home rentals are banned in Douglas County’s neighborhoods?

A petition to alter Douglas County’s vacation home rental ordinance to ban rentals in residential zoning and allow them in neighborhood commercial zoning has been submitted to the Douglas County Clerk-Treasurer’s Office.

Petition organizer Jeanne Shizuru filed to gather signatures for the petition at the end of August.

Organizers said Monday night that they are confident they have more than the required 4,389 signatures required to get the ordinance on the ballot.

“We have decided not to share the total number of signatures at this time,” said spokeswoman Cynthia Mohiuddin. “Be assured that total number of signatures turned in exceeds that number by a comfortable margin. Our group has spent a great deal of time auditing the signature packets. As such we are confident that our error rate is very low.”

Shizuru spent Monday sitting outside where the signatures are being verified in the county courthouse as a witness, after being told she wasn’t allowed in the actual room for the work.

“The problem with this is that, as observed today, Jeanne was not able to hear nor even fully observe the full extent of counting activities going on in the room or the discussions occurring concerning the signature counting activities in the room,” Mohiuddin said. “We have been committed to making sure the issue of eliminating VHRs in Douglas County residential neighborhoods gets on the ballot so Douglas County voters can be heard and have a say in whether they want VHRs in their neighborhoods.”

Opponents accused petitioners of misleading signers attacking the claim that the petition won’t cost county taxpayers anything.

Steve Teshara of the Tahoe Chamber in a letter appearing in today’s edition of The Record-Courier, said that county commissioners determined that the petition would actually cost $2.1 million.

“This amount includes $811,865 in VHR permitting fees and $1,294,678 in TOT revenues,” Teshara said.

In an opinion from Shizuru published by The Record-Courier in December, she said “4 percent of the Tahoe Township’s 14 percent transient occupancy tax charged to VHR commercial guests (is) actually distributed to Douglas County.”

On Thursday, county commissioners voted 3-2 to direct the Vacation Home Rental Advisory Board to continue its work on the ordinance and return at the end of the year, or earlier.

The advisory board meets 1 p.m. today in the Kahle Community Center Rubicon Room where they will select officers and discuss goals for the year.

The last modification to the ordinance to ban vacation home rentals north of Cave Rock State Park is being challenged by residents in Glenbrook.

Richard Ray Jr. and Marcia Ellen Ray, Glenbrook Rental Program and Rustlingwood are suing the county over its Dec. 21, 2023, change to the ordinance governing vacation home rentals.

The restrictions are scheduled to take effect on Dec. 31.

“This area has the lowest density of available rentals in all of Douglas County, and there have been no complaints filed with the County about any disruptions north of Cave Rock” said Kevin Kjer, who manages Glenbrook Rental Program. “There are almost no AirBnb or VRBO here and I personally screen and supervise every renter. I hope a judge will see that few special interests that live in Glenbrook part-time should not be allowed to deprive everyone else of their right to rent homes here. It is arbitrary and unfair.”

It has been five years since the first suggestion that vacation home rentals go on the Douglas County ballot.

Then Douglas County commissioners Dave Nelson and Steve Thaler said they expected that the issue would be on the ballot … in 2020.

Easily one of the most revised ordinances over the shortest amount of time, work on the ordinance started in 2019 as Douglas County tackled the use head-on.


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