CALL FOR ACTION: PROPOSED COUNTY MORATORIUM ON VHR PERMITS
The County began the process of reviewing its VHR permitting process and drafting an ordinance last year with hearings for the residents. They created a task force to address this slated to begin now – at the start of 2018. The plan was to look at short term rental ordinances in other jurisdictions to see what is working and what is not, to research and to do their due diligence. We all agree that looking into setting up some rules and guidelines is a good idea. During a Fall meeting in 2017, a small contingency calling themselves “Tahoe Residents First” (an anti-VHR group) appeared to tell the Supervisors that County staff is “issuing permits like candy.” This is simply not true.
However, to all of our surprise, we have been informed that rather than let the task force complete the process they had just begun, El Dorado County Supervisor Shiva Frentzen has requested that 2 items to be added to the agenda to the upcoming meeting:
1: Conceptually approve an Urgency Ordinance placing a moratorium on the issuance of new vacation home rental permits in the unincorporated portions of the County located within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Lake Tahoe Basin; and
2: Direct staff to prepare the Ordinance, including a finding that the urgency ordinance is required to preserve public peace, health or safety and declaration of the facts constituting the urgency, and schedule the First Reading of the Ordinance for Board consideration and adoption on January 23, 2018. (4/5 vote required)
Keep in mind that El Dorado County has 5 supervisors. This area covers El Dorado Hills up through South Lake Tahoe. Of the 5 supervisors, only one, Sue Novasel,is from the Tahoe area. Never-the-less, Novasel has been reported to the FPPC as having a “potential conflict of interest” due to her husband’s lending business, and must recuse herself until they complete their investigation. Seriously! Decisions reflecting the Lake Tahoe basin could be made with no local representation. For a moratorium to be enacted (urgency ordinance) they need 4 votes.
If you have a concern over the future of South Lake Tahoe’s economy, home values and community strength and if you have the time, we would greatly appreciate your marking your calendar to attend the next meeting being held January 9th in Placerville. The meeting will start at 2:00. This will show you the agenda. Supervisors will attempt to limit the public comment period on this agenda item to 20 minutes. It will still be impactful if we are able to show up in numbers to pack the room, and when a representative speaks, those present can raise their hands or stand to indicate support for that speaker’s position. There are only 99 VHRs in the entire Western Slope of El Dorado County – spread out between the other 4 Districts. The other 4 Supervisors are just not educated about all of the pros and cons, issues and potential solutions as those of us who have been dealing with the issue in South Lake Tahoe.
The message for the other 4 Supervisors is – there is no need to rush. The number of new permits issued was approximately the same year over year for 2017 as compared to 2016. The County has already begun a process to examine the ordinance and permit process, fees, fines, etc and it should be allowed the time necessary to do its research, reach out to all stake holders, and craft a good law – to get it right the 1st time – and not just be reactionary. And while an urgency ordinance was passed in the City of South Lake Tahoe, it was truly intended as a temporary measure – to allow time for the new ordinance with the new rules and processes to be put into place.
How serious is this meeting? Read the statistics below and decide for yourself:
As of 11/27/2017, there were 727 VHR permits in the County in the Tahoe Basin with 29 in process.
In 2017 there were 112 new permits issued, 36 permits expired and did not renew, for a net increase of 76. VHR permits increased by approximately the same number in 2016.
Transient Occupancy Tax income generated for the County between July-November 2017 (5 month period) was 1.5 million within the Tahoe Basin and $785,000 within the West Slope for a total of 2.3 million dollars. These tax dollars help keep our community afloat.
In the meantime, following is an update focusing on the City VHR program.? As many of you are aware, the City of South Lake Tahoe recently passed a cap of 1,400 permits within the city limits. In the past ten years or so, we have fluctuated between 1200 – 1500. This cap was a compromise that most felt would be a “win win” for those on both sides of the issue. Stay tuned though as we have now been told that the same group mentioned above, “Tahoe Residents First” is not happy. They are now working toward putting the matter of banning VHR’s all together to the public in a vote. Again, stay tuned – local business owners (small and large), residents and tourist organizations are ready not going to sit by and let this happen without an education of common sense take place. Consider the following:
Between 12/20/2017 – 01/03/2018 (15 of our busiest days of the year), there were a total of 58 complaint calls. Only 23 were verified. The other 35 were bogus and a waste of tax dollars. Only 6% of the verified complaints were actual noise problems, over New Year’s Week and Snow Globe. The 23 verified calls broke down as such: 3 for partying/noise, 16 for parking, 1 for occupancy, and 3 were for unpermitted VHR’s. Are these numbers truly serious enough to make decisions that could dramatically affect our local economy and family incomes? The nearly unanimous feeling among local and second home owners is that regulations are necessary to help maintain a peaceful environment for all and that enforcement of those regulations is where we need to be directing our focus and energy. Not digging into the pockets of those depending on a tourist economy. Common sense.