Tahoe Regional Planning Agency working group to discuss short-term rental policies | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Regional Planning Agency working group to discuss short-term rental policies

Ryan Hoffman Special to Sierra Sun
MEETING INFO When: 1 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 14 Where: Tahoe Regional Planning Agency office, 128 Market St., Stateline

A working group tasked with crafting updates to Tahoe Regional Planning Agency policies regarding short-term rentals will meet tomorrow to review draft changes.

Specifically, the Short-Term Rental Neighborhood Compatibility Working Group will consider the addition of a new criterion to be used by TRPA when evaluating whether to allocate development rights to local governments.

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.

When allocating the development rights, TRPA uses what it calls its “performance review system” to evaluate each jurisdiction. The system currently involves two criteria: annual residential permit review and code compliance audit; and implementation of the Lake Tahoe total maximum daily load.

If a jurisdiction fails to score a minimum of 90% on each of those two items, TRPA is required to reduce the amount of development rights allocated to the jurisdiction.

Earlier this year, TRPA considered, but ultimately rejected, a proposal to place deed restrictions on residential development rights that would bar them from being used for short-term rentals — also known as vacation home rentals or VHRs — and second homes.

Instead, based on the recommendation of staff, the agency’s local government committee suggested going the route that will be discussed Wednesday.

The proposed change would add a third criterion aimed at addressing some of the impacts associated with short-term rentals. It would do so by creating a series of guidelines and best management practices focused on three specific topics: location, operation and enforcement.

In an attempt to address concerns of overreach by TRPA — an allegation historically levied by local governments at the lake — the agency would allow jurisdictions to tailor best management practices to fit their individual situations.

For location, TRPA would require local jurisdictions to show that short-term rentals are located in areas consistent with land use and transportation goals detailed in TRPA’s regional plan.

It also would require them to have policies to address issues such as over saturation of short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods.

Suggested best management practices include items such as only allowing short-term rentals in residential areas if the home is occupied by a primary resident the majority of the year.

For operational guidelines, TRPA would require local jurisdictions to have an ordinance addressing, at the very least, the following issues: noise, occupancy, parking, defensible space, public health and safety, water quality, trash and education.

These guidelines also cover other aspects of a typical short-term rental program, such as online permitting and annual renewals.

Suggested best management practices include establishing quiet hours and occupancy limits, among many others.

The enforcement aspect would require local jurisdictions to have policies for enforcing the regulations on location and operation, as well as plans for bringing illegal short-term rentals into compliance and addressing “bad actors.”

It includes suggested best management practices such as only allowing full-time residents to operate short-term rentals.

The entire draft policy and staff report can be viewed here.

Click here to view the “Short-Term Rental Neighborhood Compatibility” webpage on the TRPA site.

The working group is expected to direct staff to make final edits to the draft, which could come back before the group in September, according to the staff report. 

At that point, the group could recommend that the regulations be forwarded to TRPA’s advisory planning commission, regional plan implementation committee and the full governing board for adoption by the end of the calendar year.

The working group’s meeting is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, at TRPA’s office in Stateline, 128 Market St.

Ryan Hoffman is a reporter with the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication to the Sierra Sun.