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Posted on: January 8, 2019

City Council Reviews Preliminary Injunction Request Regarding Measure T

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South Lake Tahoe, CA- City Council met earlier today to discuss the January 24 preliminary injunction hearing on Measure T. Measure T, a citizen-initiated ballot measure, was approved by the voters in November and places additional restrictions on vacation home rentals (VHRs), including reduced maximum occupancy limits, a prohibition on the issuance of new VHR permits in residential areas, and the phase-out of VHR permits in residential areas by 2021. South Lake Tahoe Property Owners Group filed a lawsuit in late December, and on December 24 the court issued a temporary restraining order to delay the implementation of new maximum occupancy limits only. The hearing on January 24 could potentially block the full implementation of Measure T until the court decides the merits of the case. No trial date has been set.

City Council respects the will of the voters of South Lake Tahoe and supports the continued implementation of Measure T’s provisions that prohibit new VHRs in residential areas and the phase-out of VHR permits in residential areas while the case proceeds through the legal system. Noting the impact on previous visitor reservations, the City Council expressed its support for a continued delay in the implementation of new maximum occupancy limits while the case is pending. Importantly, City Council also expressed its desire for the City to work toward a future compromise on the VHR issue, involving stakeholders on both sides of Measure T, in an effort to bring our community together. The City will be encouraging this effort as part of the upcoming legal process and through continued efforts by City Council and City staff to identify future compromise.

The City of South Lake Tahoe will provide additional guidance to our residents, property owners, and visitors as this case proceeds.

To view a copy of Measure T, please click HERE. To view a copy of the lawsuit filed by South Lake Tahoe Property Owners Group, click HERE.

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Legal Action Filed to Block Measure T; TRO Prevents Implementation of New Maximum Occupancy Limits

Measure T, the citizen-initiated ballot measure that places additional restrictions on vacation home rentals (VHRs) in South Lake Tahoe, became effective on December 20. City staff began implementation and enforcement of the immediate Measure T provisions on December 20, however, these initial actions have been delayed by a temporary restraining order granted by El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Thomas Smith on December 24.

Judge Smith’s order delays enforcement of new maximum occupancy limits included in Measure T until at least January 24, when a preliminary injunction hearing will be held. As such, the City has delayed the re-issuance of all existing VHR permits in residential areas to reflect the new maximum occupancy limits and will continue to enforce the maximum occupancy limits that were in effect prior to Measure T and that are currently listed on all existing VHR permits. The City will continue this approach until at least January 24, and perhaps longer depending on future legal decisions.

A group organized as South Lake Tahoe Property Owners Group filed a complaint against the City (as the entity legally responsible for implementing and enforcing citizen-initiated ballot measures) on December 18, and a copy of that complaint may be viewed here. The complaint challenges several provisions in Measure T, and these arguments are expected to be considered by the Court in the coming months. The temporary restraining order applies only to the new maximum occupancy limits included in Measure T, as Judge Smith cited the potential hardship on visitors who made lodging and travel reservations in advance of Measure T’s effective date of December 20. All other provisions of Measure T (including a prohibition on the issuance of any VHR permits for new VHRS in residential areas, and the permitted renewal of existing VHR permits in residential areas only until 2021) remain effective while the case proceeds.

The City welcomes and appreciates our thousands of visitors annually, and works hard to promote the best possible visitor experience. At the same time, the City encourages all VHR owners and their guests to be responsible and respect your neighbors so that everyone can enjoy this exceptional place. City staff will continue to diligently enforce all applicable VHR regulations, including regulations regarding neighborhood disturbances (noise, parking, hot tub use, and others), the maximum occupancy limits in place prior to Measure T, and the new Measure T provisions that are not delayed by the temporary restraining order. The City respects both the will of the voters who approved Measure T and the legal process currently underway, and is working hard to ensure fair and proper implementation and enforcement of VHR regulations.

For questions about VHR permits, please contact City permit staff at 530-542-6071. To report violations, please contact City enforcement staff at 530-542-7474.

Additional guidance to our residents, VHR permit holders, and visitors will be provided by the City of South Lake Tahoe as the case progresses.

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Measure T Regarding Vacation Home Rentals (VHRs) Approved by South Lake Tahoe Voters;  City Taking Steps to Ensure Proper Implementation and Enforcement

Measure T, the citizen-initiated ballot measure that places additional restrictions on vacation home rentals (VHRs) in South Lake Tahoe, was approved by voters on November 6.  Election results were recently certified, and the immediate provisions of Measure T are effective today. Measure T also requires the full phase-out of VHRs in residential areas of South Lake Tahoe over a three-year period, and the implementation of these provisions will occur by 2021. 

As of today, Measure T reduces the maximum occupancy limits for VHRs in residential areas to 2 people per bedroom, and no more than a maximum of 12 people in any VHR.  This occupancy reduction affects all existing VHR permits in residential areas, but not those in non-residential areas.  City staff is in the process of reissuing all 1,344 existing VHR permits in residential areas to reflect the new maximum occupancy limits, and new permits will be mailed to VHR owners soon. 

City staff will continue to diligently enforce all existing VHR regulations pertaining to neighborhood disturbances (noise, parking, hot tub use, trash, and other disturbances), and will also enforce the new maximum occupancy limits on any VHR that also creates a neighborhood disturbance (i.e., multiple violations will be issued for both the disturbance and the violation of the new maximum occupancy limits).  The City understands that many VHR reservations were made under the old maximum occupancy limits, and is attempting to be reasonable during the initial Measure T implementation period.  In an effort to accommodate previous VHR reservations, City staff will initially use discretion in enforcing the new maximum occupancy limits if VHR guests are responsible visitors and do not violate other VHR regulations by causing neighborhood disturbances.  City staff will continue this enforcement approach on a trial basis in the coming weeks and will adjust the enforcement strategy as needed in the future.  

Measure T prohibits the issuance of new VHR permits in residential areas, and no new permits will be issued.  There are currently 1,344 existing VHR permits in residential areas in South Lake Tahoe, and these permits may only be renewed in 2018, 2019, and 2020.  All existing VHR permits in residential areas will expire in 2021, and no renewals will occur in 2021 or beyond.  Measure T does not affect the existing 429 VHR permits in non-residential areas (tourist core, commercial, recreation) of South Lake Tahoe, and new VHR permits may be issued in non-residential areas in the future.

The City urges all VHR owners and their guests to respect their neighbors.  The City respects the citizen-initiated ballot measure, and will diligently enforce VHR regulations to promote peaceful neighborhoods in South Lake Tahoe.  Please help us implement the immediate provisions of Measure T in a responsible, diligent, and understanding manner. 

A “Measure T Fact Sheet” is attached, and includes a concise explanation of the City’s VHR regulations effective with the passage of Measure T.  A map indicating the residential and non-residential areas in South Lake Tahoe is also attached.

The City of South Lake Tahoe will notify all permitted VHR owners of any changes to VHR regulations and/or enforcement as the implementation of Measure T moves forward.

Thank you for your cooperation!

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