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Short-term rental restrictions proposed by Washoe County


by Dana Gentry, Nevada Current

The Washoe County Commission introduced an amendment Tuesday that would, for the most part, provide more oversight of short-term rentals, which are being blamed in part for driving residents from their homes, especially in Lake Tahoe, where they compete for accommodations with tourists.

During public comment, Judith Miller of Incline Village read social media posts from a variety of Tahoe residents, including school teachers and health care workers displaced by the sale or conversion of their long-term rental units for use as short-term rentals. 

“From Tracy Anastasios, a registered nurse. ‘Hey guys, my tiny flat is going VRBO via the owners. I am looking for a long term cabin rental. I am a local born and raised in Reno,” Miller read.

Miller also cited a September 2021 housing study that says while “short term rentals are not solely to blame for the shortage of housing for employees in Washoe Tahoe, they are part of the problem. It is also clear from survey respondents that the quality of life of owners and renters are impacted by short term rentals within residential neighborhoods.“

The proposed amendment would: 

  • Change the requirements for processing an STR application that allows over 20 persons in one residence from an administrative permit approved by the Board of Adjustment to a special use permit approved by the Planning Commission.
  • Exclude overflow parking spaces in condominium or multi-family complexes in the calculation of required parking spaces.
  • Require the owner to attest to a minimum of $500,000 liability coverage per occurrence.
  • Repeal the requirement to submit a certificate of insurance. 
  • Require a bear box for Incline Village properties after two confirmed trash violations. 
  • Modify maximum occupancy calculation from one occupant for every 200 square feet of habitable space to two (2) occupants for each legally permitted bedroom, with the remainder of the home (excluding bedrooms) calculated as one occupant for every 200 square feet of habitable space.

A county official noted 28 individuals submitted public comment via letters, but they were not read into the record.  

The amendment is scheduled for another reading and possible adoption on May 10.  

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