Vacation rentals don’t belong in Valley
Many people are under the impression that the vacation home rental ordinance going before the Board of Commissioners on Aug. 2 is only for the Lake Tahoe Basin. As currently written it applies to the Lake Tahoe Basin and East Fork Township, which includes Carson Valley, Jacks Valley and the south county. The Planning Commission is recommending to the Board of Commissioners that the ordinance be prohibited in the East Fork Township. However, the County Commissioners can reject the recommendation of the Planning Commission.
I strongly agree with the Planning Commission. It does not belong in the Valley for the following reasons.
The proposed county ordinance 20.622.030 applies to all approved single-family dwellings including approved townhomes, condominiums, duplex and triplex units, which encompasses most of the East Fork Township housing.
The master plan land use element states that rural residential land use is also rural in character and land uses in those areas should maintain the rural character of those areas. Allowing vacation home rentals which are basically mini-hotels with no manager on-site is not a rural use.
A one-bedroom cottage in Carson Valley with two beds and one bath can get as much as $85 a night or $2,380 for 28 days.
Is the owner of a duplex, a triplex, townhome or condominium going to rent a unit to an individual or family on a yearly basis when it can get double or triple that amount for a vacation home rental which only lasts from one to 28 days? People will no longer be able to find condos, townhomes, duplex or triplex units for rent to individuals.
HOAs can change their CC&Rs to prevent VHRs in their developments. If you’re on a local road with no HOA, you have no recourse to keep them out of your neighborhood. And if there are no local posted parking Regulations on your road, you have no control regarding the overflow or visitor parking due to the VHR on your street.
The vacation home rental ordinance will not retain and enhance our established residential neighborhoods as required by Title 20.600.
Nor is it consistent with the goals and policies of the master plan. In the rural residential community plans such as the Foothill plan, FH Goal 1, it will not preserve the rural residential character of the Foothill community. It also fails the findings in that it is not of a similar type and intensity of use as Foothill has no commercial uses.
A vacation home rental is subject to the TOT tax, room tax (transient occupancy and license tax) the same as hotels, motels, for example, the Carson Valley Inn. Clearly, this is a commercial use.
As residents of Carson Valley, we bought our homes based on the zoning in place at the time of purchase. Had we known that the house next door or down the street could be a vacation home rental with transitory occupants that pose a security risk to our neighborhood, we would not have purchased that house.
The presence of VHRs in our neighborhoods will be detrimental to the high quality of our lives and will decrease the value of our homes as well as threaten the security of our environment.
The vacation home rental zoning ordinance is not appropriate for the Valley and should be prohibited in the East Fork Township.
Margaret Pross is a Gardnerville resident and former member of the Douglas County Planning Commission.