VHR petitioners file court challenge

A challenge to the county’s determination that a petition to ban vacation home rentals was insufficient was filed in Douglas County District Court.

Petitioners are represented by Nancy Avanzino Gilbert in the case filed in Ninth Judicial Court on Wednesday.

According to the lawsuit, the first claim is that the Clerk-Treasurer Amy Burgans was required to evaluate whether the initiative had a different financial effect than that included in the petition.

Petitioners claimed that the effect would be zero based on Measure T, which was approved in South Lake Tahoe in 2018. County commissioners voted 3-2 in October that the impact would be $2.737 million. Commissioners Danny Tarkanian and Walt Nowosad, both of whom signed the petition, voted against the determination.

“Plaintiff is informed and believes, and thereon alleges if defendants had determined that the VHR Initiative may have a different financial effect upon Douglas County other than what Plaintiff’s VHR Initiative stated … then defendants were required to provide same prior to approving plaintiff’s VHR Initiative, at that time.”

The complaint reiterates the complaints made to county commissioners about the verification process that resulted in Burgans deeming the petition insufficient.

The lawsuit won’t be heard by either of Douglas County’s district judges under a peremptory challenge filed by the petitioners.

Judge Tom Gregory is married to Deputy District Attorney Cynthea Gregory. Judge Tod Young’s son works for Chase International at Lake Tahoe, according to the challenge, which is associated with LuxeVaca, a vacation rental business.

The petition seeks to eliminate all vacation home rentals in residential zoning districts at Lake Tahoe, which is the only portion of the county where they are permitted.

It also extends vacation home rentals to the rest of the county in mixed-use commercial zoning. Dart Liquor in Stateline is the only permitted site at Lake Tahoe with that zoning but there is a possibility of 10, according to the county.

East Fork Township has 157 dwelling units in mixed-use and commercial zones that could be operated as vacation home rentals. A proposal for 160 apartments on land just north of Riverview across the East Fork from Carson Valley Golf Course depends on a change to mixed-use commercial, which would qualify them for vacation home permits, as well. That proposal was continued by the Gardnerville Town Board on March 5 at the requestion of the developer.


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