LAKE TAHOE (KPIX 5) — Tahoe’s attractions are more than enough to fill area hotels, with the overflow feeding a vacation rental industry, but some locals are complaining those rentals are ruining neighborhoods.
Tourists visit Tahoe every year. Housing those visitors who don’t stay in hotels has literally become a cottage industry. However, it is an industry that isn’t regulated in the county and clearly has people fired up.
You know it’s a hot button topic when the public turn-out at a meeting is so overwhelming the fire marshal has to shut it down.
“It’s obviously a heated issue vacation rentals have ballooned in our neighborhoods, we are all concerned,” said El Dorado County District 5 Supervisor Sue Novasel
Vacation home rentals aren’t regulated in El Dorado County, but that’s likely about to change soon. There are about 850 units in question. 14 of them are in homeowner Diane Voerwoest’s neighborhood:
“I’ve seen my neighborhood go from lively with kids on their bikes to what I call a ghost neighborhood,” said Voerwoest
She says it making for a nightmare when it comes to trash, traffic, parking and noise. That laundry list of complaints was clearly echoed by many others in the county.
But Tahoe is a tourist destination and those visitors need some place to stay
“Last year, when we had a lot of snow, the hotel were completely full. So were the VHR’s. It comes down to a matter of space,” said homeowner Jeffrey Spencer.
Home rentals or VHR’s bring in about three million in tax revenue, not counting what those visitors spend in town and at the resorts. But balancing that demand with the needs of those who live here full time is a tricky task and, clearly, one that draws a crowd.
“You have the right to have peace and quiet in your neighborhood and also for people to want to vacation in your neighborhood,” a resident was heard saying at the packed meeting
The county commission has come up with a list of ways to possibly mitigate the problem. That was what they wanted to talk about at the crowded meeting Thursday night but weren’t able to.
No word yet on when or where that meeting is rescheduled, but March 20th is when staff will have a concrete list of regulatory options.
The city of South Lake Tahoe finalized its vacation home rental laws in November, but it didn’t satisfy those who live there full time.
A group is circulating a petition to have the issue put on this summer’s ballot.
It would essentially outlaw VHR’s, phasing them out over the next three years.