Planning agency reviews short-term rental policy | SierraSun.com

Planning agency reviews short-term rental policy

Individuals representing neighborhood and environmental groups, the real estate community, and others from across the Tahoe Basin gathered at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in Stateline last Wednesday to voice their concerns regarding short-term rental policies.

During a roughly three-hour session, the Short-Term Rental Neighborhood Compatibility Group reviewed and provided input on the TRPA’s proposed addition of a new criterion to be used when evaluating whether to allocate development rights to local governments.

The TRPA currently uses two criteria when allocating development rights, using what it calls its “performance review system” to evaluate local jurisdictions. The working group discussed a proposed third criterion, which is aimed at addressing impacts associated with short-term rentals. The criterion would establish a set of best management practices focused on location, operation and enforcement.

The locational guideline would require local jurisdictions demonstrate that short-term rentals are located in areas consistent with land uses and transportation goals in the regional plan. It also requires local jurisdictions to have policies that address issues such as clustering of short-term rentals and the construction of large short-term rentals in neighborhoods.

The operational component would require jurisdictions to demonstrate that they have an ordinance in place that addresses noise, occupancy, parking, refuse, defensible space, water quality, public heath and safety, public and visitor education, and other elements.

The enforcement component would require jurisdictions to show they have a program in place for enforcing the locational and operational requirements, for bringing illegal short-term rentals into conformance, and for addressing bad actors.

Jurisdictions would receive points for each of the three components and if a minimum score is not met as part of the TRPA’s “performance review system,” the TRPA would then reduce the amount of development rights allocated to that jurisdiction. The development rights system, once known as commodities, was created as a means to control development in the Tahoe Basin. TRPA allocates development rights to each jurisdiction around the lake, which then distribute the development rights in their communities.

During Wednesday’s meeting, public comment was followed by remarks by the working group, which offered a wide range of thoughts on the draft. Remarks on the proposed criterion touched most aspects of the draft including: impacts on professionally managed rental companies, ability to enforce the guidelines, the way the point system is structured, overreach by the TRPA on the issue, language regarding where and how many short-term rentals can be in a given location, establishment of quiet hours, and only allowing short-term rental use in areas if the home is occupied by a primary resident the majority of the year.

Ultimately, the Short-Term Rental Neighborhood Compatibility Working Group elected to continue the discussion at its next meeting in September before taking the draft to the governing board.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com.