Predictably, Measure T has triggered confusion and real-world economic harm on the economy of South Lake Tahoe. Tahoe Chamber leaders have reviewed the initial legal complaint filed by the South Lake Tahoe Property Owners Group and we agree that Measure T is unconstitutional and unenforceable.
The immediate impact of Measure T was to limit vacation home rental (VHR) occupancy levels. In a significant number of situations, the new lower level was below that authorized in VHR permits issued by the City of South Lake Tahoe. This left City officials to calculate the payment of refund checks to affected permit holders, with such refunds potentially totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars, an impact not factored into the City’s current year budget.
Scores of holiday visitors who had made VHR reservations well in advance were confused. Some canceled their reservations. Many VHR owners were confused, asking the City to clarify what regulations were in effect. A number of real estate transactions have been negatively affected. Local jobs and incomes have been negatively affected.
Thanks to the timely action of the property and business owners involved in retaining attorney Andrew Pierce, a judge serving in the El Dorado County Superior Court granted a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) blocking the City from enforcing Measure T for 30 days. The TRO was issued Christmas Eve day, so the next court date for round 2 of the Measure T challenge is scheduled for January 24.
City Council Measure T Update
The Council meet in Closed Session yesterday (Tuesday, January 7) to discuss the January 24 Measure T Preliminary Injunction hearing. Thereafter, the City issued the following statement: “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 the 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 continuing 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.”