Short-term rental talks dominate council meeting
This week’s Truckee Town Council meeting was dominated by discussion of short-term rentals, leading to changes after a lengthy discussion.
Truckee Town Council on Tuesday adopted changes to the short-term rental program, including a town-wide cap of 1,255 registration certificates; a move to phase out short-term rentals in multi-family housing units; establishment of one-year waiting periods after a home sale before the unit is eligible to register as a short-term rental; increases in fees and penalties; and an annual registration renewal deadline of Dec. 31.
Town Council also directed staff to develop a program that would incentivize the private sector to contribute to workforce housing by setting aside a limited pool of short-term rental registration certificates. Potentially, a developer could approach the town to propose deed restricting one or more housing units for workforce housing in exchange for the ability to access an agreed-to number of short-term rental certificates.
“This alone is not going to solve our housing issues,” said Council Member David Polivy. “As many people pointed out, these are state and national issues that are taking place, but it is another tool in the toolbox.”
The short-term rental program will return for council review this summer.
Truckee’s short-term rental ordinance established an annual transient occupancy registration requirement and operational standards, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2021. In September, the Town Council adopted an urgency ordinance to establish a 45-day moratorium on the issuance of new transient occupancy registration certificates in response to a significant shortage of housing that is affordable to the local workforce.
Truckee then formed an advisory committee on the matter in order to proactively manage the short-term rental registration program as a tool to help maintain the supply of housing that is affordable to the regional workforce, leading to Tuesday night’s presentation on the topic.
Currently, Truckee is short nearly 2,500 workforce housing units, according to the Mountain Housing Council’s 2021 Workforce Housing Needs Assessment Update. The homes most in demand are one- and two-bedroom units.
Truckee has a total of 13,674 housing units, of which 1,255 are registered short-term rentals. The majority of registered short-term rentals are single-family homes, and most are located in the Old Greenwood, Deerfield, and Tahoe Donner areas. The number of short-term rentals increased from 2014 through 2020, and decreased in 2021 when Truckee adopted annual registration fees.
“We did see a decrease in 2021,” said Hilary Hobbs, assistant to the town manager. “That decrease corresponded both with COVID as well as with the implementation of our new STR ordinance, so it’s hard to parse out exactly what percent of that decrease may have been caused by one or the other.”
In order to better manage the short-term rental program, Town Council was provided with a number of possible options, including capping short-term rental registration certificates, establishing a time period after a home sale before the unit can be used as a short-term rental, registration caps by neighborhood, phasing out short-term rentals that are in multi-family units, increased penalties for those not in compliance, and others.
“We’re not here tonight saying STRs are inherently bad or inherently good,” said Mayor Courtney Henderson. “This isn’t a local-versus-tourist issue, which we did hear in some of the dialogue around this. We’re really here to discuss the merits of different ways of regulating STRs, and all of that is really with the vision of doing what is best for our community as a whole.”
The short-term rental presentation was followed by roughly an hour of public comment, as members of the community voiced concerns on financial impacts of not being able to use their home as a short-term rental, whether a cap would impact the economic wellbeing of the community, and the character of neighborhoods.
Justin Scacco is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at email@example.com
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