Truckee, Placer County seek community input on short-term rentals
A vote on changes to how short-term rentals operate is set for next week.
Crystal Jacobsen, assistant director of the Community Development Resources Agency, discussed code amendments at a Placer County town hall this month aimed at eliminating barriers to both housing and redevelopment in town centers in the Tahoe Basin.
Some of the proposed changes for Placer County short-term rentals include modifying the exemption language, requiring fire inspections at the time of permit application, limiting one short-term rental per parcel, and an increase in penalties and fines for short-term rental nuisances.
The newly proposed fines may now be anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000.
Also discussed was whether to make short-term rental stays a minimum of 30 nights per year.
Supervisors will vote on these code amendment changes at a Tuesday, Jan. 25, meeting set for the Granlibakken Tahoe, 725 Granlibakken Road, Tahoe City. The meeting starts at 9 a.m., and the timed item is scheduled for noon.
The proposed changes will be effective starting March 31, though officials haven’t yet finalized which ones will be included.
Public comment will be opened for each agenda item, and those who wish to comment may do so virtually through a Zoom meeting webinar http://www.placer.ca.gov/boslive using the Webinar ID 974 1086 4129.
Those would would like to provide feedback on the ordinance in Placer County may email email@example.com.
Former short-term rental owner Cheri Sugal said that after her neighbors came to her with complaints about her rental while she traveled for work, she decided to rent out her downstairs unit instead while she was present in the home.
“That immediately eliminated the problem,” Sugal said. “I was upstairs. If there was even a peep of noise, I could address it right away because I was on site. That’s the whole point is that hotels actually have a front desk person who is there on site all the time… if you don’t have someone to deal with it in real time, then it’s the neighbors that are dealing with it.”
Sugal has since given up her permit, but now lives next door to a short-term rental.
She has run into a myriad of problems with the rental she lives next to, including lighting fires during red flag warning days, trash in her yard, and extra bags of trash in her bear box that belonged to guests. She’s even walked upstairs one day to find people in her home who had mistaken it for the rental next door.
“I had nights where I would stay up all night watching that fire pit to make sure that it didn’t burn my house down,” Sugal said.
TAKE BACK TAHOE
Because of the issues that she and others have run into with short-term rentals, as well as the belief that the rentals contribute to the housing crisis, Sugal began the group “Take Back Tahoe” in response. It focuses specifically on issues regarding short-term rentals.
Recently the group has collected around 1,600 signatures in a petition calling for more feasible solutions to issues surrounding short-term rentals .
Sugal has proposed many solutions to the problem, including limiting the number of days that a home can be rented without having a manager on site and also to have a holding period of around 12 months before obtaining a permit.
“What this does is it basically discourages investors and Realtors from buying up our housing stock and turning them into commercial businesses,” Sugal said.
According to BAE Urban Economics, a consultant group hired on behalf of Placer County to collect data on short-term rentals, approximately 95.5% of those who own short-term rentals live outside of the region, which include a mix of second homeowners and investors.
Truckee is currently holding a community survey regarding short-term rentals that will be available through Monday, Jan. 24, regarding the proposed updates to Truckee’s short-term rentals.
These include a cap on the number of short-term rental certificates issued, a waiting period for properties before becoming eligible for a short-term rental permit, and the phasing out of short-term rentals in multi-family housing units.
The town is currently seeking public input on the decision. The information given in the survey will be presented to the Truckee Town Council at 5 p.m. Feb. 8 at Town Hall, 10183 Truckee Airport Road.
Elizabeth White is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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