In regards to the proposal to severely restrict permits for vacation rentals and the town council vote on June 16, I would like to raise a few points to 3 distinct local groups. Homeowners- This proposal will stomp the value of homes in this town as out-of-towners will immediately cease purchasing homes here and a selloff will immediately ensue in the local housing market as homeowners try to sell before the inevitable crash. A 30-40% plunge in value, at minimum, should be expected. Most local residents who have bought a home here in the past fifteen years will be left in a mountain of debt with no recourse. Neighbors of Noisy Vacation Rentals- Yes, it's a nuisance when renters throw late-night parties and disturb the sleep of their neighbors. However, there are other ways to combat this than simply eliminating the entire industry from our local economy. Why not establish a "3 strikes" policy? If a particular homeowner's rental property receives complaints from three separate neighbors within a specified time frame, they will lose their permit to rent. The homeowners will become responsible for weeding out bachelor parties and other obnoxious renters. They will do this by obtaining references on airbnb, vrbo etc. and by actually interviewing the people who wish to rent their homes. It's not fair to punish the responsible vacation rental homeowners who already do business this way and thus have never received noise complaints from neighbors. Better Business Bureau and anyone who cares about the economy of this town- Blindly refusing to issue new permits and clogging the market with red tape, as has been suggested, reeks of corruption and communism. Why should we allow some local governing elite the power to reward what amounts to tens of thousands of dollars in contracts? Bribery in exchange for permits will inevitably corrupt the behind-closed-door deals for permits. Also consider all the other local businesses which will need to eliminate jobs or close down for good. Cleaning services, construction workers, restaurants, bike rental shops etc will all be adversely affected by a lack of tourist families who wish to vacation in homes. People need to recognize that struggling motel owners with dwindling occupancy rates have heavily lobbied for this vote, in hopes of eliminating their competition. They feel understandably threatened by the emergence of the vacation rental industry. Many families simply prefer a house with a yard for their kids to play while they barbeque over a dark, dirty motel room. Additionally, the severe drought has put a serious squeeze on the market for anyone offering lodging. The question is how do we determine who must go out of business, the worst motels or nearly everyone who rents out their homes? History and economics have proven that brute capitalism and survival of the fittest are the best ways to solve these difficult problems. Is anyone really that sad that Blockbuster Video is gone? No, because we have Netflix. Unfortunately, the demand for lodging has decreased and so the supply of lodging needs to scale down to a new equilibrium. Tax short-term rentals more if you must but if we just quit interfering and allow this process to run its course, it will bring South Lake Tahoe its most optimal future economy. Please keep these issues in mind while forming your opinions.
Nick Gorman Local Resident