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TRPA seeks public’s input in definition of ‘vacation rental’

Gregory Crofton

Huge sheets of paper were tacked on the wall, listing ideas to guide the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency toward a definition of the phrase “vacation rental.”

Attendees of the Friday workshop seemed to agreed that consensus was the only way to approach the delicate issue that is integral to Tahoe’s economy.

TRPA became involved in the vacation rental world last summer after attorney Deborah Palmer complained at a public hearing that zoning violations at Zephyr Heights had been ignored by Douglas County and TRPA.

Palmer told the TRPA Governing Board that residential homes in Zephyr Heights at times accommodate busloads of visitors. Such uses violate zoning laws and impact the environment, she argued.

The issue of TRPA possibly playing a role in regulating the vacation rental industry drew outrage from property managers, real estate agents, residents and others related to the business.

Several public meetings on the topic followed. Only a handful of residents spoke in favor of TRPA regulation.

In December, the Governing Board directed staff to let local governments at the lake handle the issue. For that to happen, though, language needs to be adopted so the TRPA’s code of ordinances about vacation rentals is consistent with its overall plan for the basin.

The next workshop, which will not include a public hearing, is Feb. 12 at a location yet to be determined.