67.8 F

County Seeking Input on AirBNB-type Lodging Regulations (Subscriber Content)


Wilbur D. May Museum at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park. Image: Bob Conrad.

As Washoe County seeks to clear up conflicting language in its development code, two public workshops are scheduled this month to gather input on transient lodging that would affect areas outside the Reno and Sparks city limits.

The Washoe County Community Services Department is hosting events at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 20 at the Wilbur D. May Museum at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, 1595 N. Sierra St.; and at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Chateau at Incline Village, 955 Fairway Blvd.

To ensure adequate space and materials, Washoe County is asking those planning to attend to register online at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfZprtcryrSAWoN8jbDb3vrIoEfUzQCkWe4iHztwdH29hAf0g/viewform.

Such short-term rentals are generally operated out of private residences such as homes, apartments and condos. They are popular in the Lake Tahoe area and commonly made available through property management companies and online booking services, including Airbnb Inc. and VRBO®, formerly known as Vacation Rentals by Owners.

Permitting requirements, fire and guest safety, parking, trash, and noise are among topics to be addressed.

Feedback will be used to assist county staff in efforts to establish enforceable standards for short-term rentals.

County staff told commissioners during a February board meeting that two areas of the county code related to rentals are in conflict with each other:

  • A portion of the development code adopted in May of 1994 does not enumerate the use of transient lodging in any regulatory zone: https://www.washoecounty.us/csd/planning_and_development/zoning_maps.php
  • Subsequently, in July 2007, commissioners approved an ordinance that defined transient lodging, which allowed the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitor Authority the ability to tax the transient lodging use. This action was interpreted as allowing transient lodging as an approved use.
  • The commission will eventually decide whether properties in residential areas used for short-term lodging need to be changed to commercial use.
    In the meantime, some outstanding code compliance cases are being held pending direction from the commission.



Carla O'Day
Carla O'Day
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.