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.
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.