Placer County officials cap short-term rentals


Short-term rental permits in Placer County will be capped at 3,900.
Elizabeth White

Placer County supervisors will cap the number of short-term rental permits, and require a business license application for any new ones.

The total number of residential short-term rental unit permits issued will be capped at 3,900. The changes become effective Mar. 31.

The decision was approved unanimously at the Tuesday Placer County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Properties with a current short-term rental permit would get priority over permits after Mar. 31. Also those with priority to obtain new rental permits will include properties that have approved exemptions, such as short-term rental owners who live locally or on the property itself. All other permits will be available on a first come, first served basis, according to Placer County Principal Management Analyst Stephanie Holloway.

Those who need to renew their permit will have 90 days after Mar. 31 to submit their renewal application, as well as those who qualify for exemptions.

This portion of Tuesday’s meeting took over four hours due to strong public opinion, primarily in favor of stronger limitations against short-term rentals.

At the meeting, many short-term rental owners either called in or were present to speak about their misgivings or understandings of the many proposed ordinances.

Jim Melehan, short-term rental owner in Northstar Village, raised his concern about putting limits on short-term rentals in ski resorts.

“Northstar, particularly the village, is in a completely different situation than what we’ve heard about so many of these residential neighborhoods,” Melehan said. “Northstar is a resort — it was built with the intention of short-term rentals and weekend stays. There are very few full-time residents in the village. So because the spirit of the ordinance is to maintain the integrity and neighborhood character, when it comes to the village, I think the easy thing to do is to continue to leave it exempt from the ordinance.”

Steven Prescott, who owns a short-term rental in north Lake Tahoe and lives in San Diego, said there should be a short-term rental steering committee to deal with the nuanced issues head on and guide the county.

“We empathize as short-term rental owners that there are a lot of issues… we understand that the dynamics of the economics up there, that the local workforce has gotten priced out, we 100% understand it. We understand that there are bad apples that rent short-term rentals.” Prescott said.

Cheri Sugal, leader of the Take Back Tahoe initiative, was disappointed that many of the requested amendments did not pass, such as putting distance requirements for each short-term rental, requiring a maximum number of days per rental, zoning limits, allocating additional funds toward enforcement, additional citations, and the requirement of snow removal.

“What comes next will matter most. We have to stay engaged in this discussion. They talked about having a ‘working group’ and adaptive management — so, continuing to revise how this gets implemented.” Sugal said.

Elizabeth White is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at

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