Tahoe neighbors to define 'vacation rental'

They say their message has been drowned out by voices that defend Tahoe's vacation rental industry, but they add the public can still speak out on the issue this week.

The goal is to ensure that zoning laws are enforced as they relate to vacation rentals or any other use that could be incompatible with neighborhoods in the Lake Tahoe Basin, says Deborah Palmer, a Douglas County resident and attorney.

Unloading tour buses and other commercial uses in residential areas such as Zephyr Heights sparked an ongoing debate over how vacation rentals should be regulated throughout basin.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency sets zoning laws for the basin. But for the last 15 years, it has avoided getting involved in sticky issues that can be created when homes are used primarily as business investments.

The TRPA Governing Board announced its intention to let local governments handle vacation rental enforcement issues, such as noise and parking complaints.

The Governing Board is yet to decide how the term "vacation rental" will be defined under its code of ordinances. It formed a group of 15 stakeholders in the basin to reach a consensus on that definition.

Palmer is one of the stakeholders. That's why she wants people to come to a South Shore working group meeting Tuesday to express complaints, documented or not, related to vacation rentals or any other use that may conflict with a neighborhood. A similar meeting was conducted last month.

"We are trying to determine what the neighborhoods want, not what the vacation rental industry wants," said Palmer at her Round Hill law office. "We want to get the neighbors together."

The information collected will be presented at the next TRPA vacation rental workshop Thursday at Kings Beach.

The TRPA Governing Board is expected to review the stakeholder group's definition in late March.

The South Shore working group will discuss the impacts of vacation rentals on neighborhoods at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the South Lake Tahoe Branch of the El Dorado County Library

Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or at gcrofton@tahoedailytribune.com.


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