Article Written By: Hannah Jones
UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect Placer County has not yet adopted the ordinance. The first reading of the ordinance occurred Tuesday. A second reading will happen at the next board meeting. The Sierra Sun regrets the error.
With more than 3,700 short-term rentals on the books, Placer County is looking to adopt an ordinance to address issues regarding occupancy, noise, parking and garbage collection at properties.
Among new limits outlined, the ordinance restricts occupancy of short-term rentals to two people per bedroom, with an additional two people allowed to stay in the house. Those new limits on occupancy, which take effect at 10 p.m. daily, do not apply to children age 16 or under.
Placer County’s supervisors heard from two people at its Oct. 22 meeting who spoke in favor of tighter regulations. Some, however, suggested that homeowner associations be exempt from the new regulations, as most associations already have their own rules in place.
In response, the ordinance will exempt short-term rentals within both resorts and residential associations. To qualify for the exemption, property owners must provide a formal written request and live in an association that has regulations for parking, noise and trash.
“They need to demonstrate that they can enforce those policies,” said Kally Kedinger-Cecil, associate planner for Placer County. The exemptions can be revoked if the county receives more than five complaints within a six-month period.
Regulations require a local contact at each property in case there are complaints from neighbors.
The ordinance will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020, with property owners required to obtain a short-term rental permit by March 31. They must renew the permit annually.
Placer County requires property owners to register and collect Transient Occupancy Tax within 30 days of making the unit available for short-term renters. New TOT regulations adopted last year require those registered to read and acknowledge existing county ordinances on trash, noise and parking.
Across the county 5,140 Transient Occupancy Tax certificates have been issued in Placer County which include motels, hotels, timeshares and bed and breakfasts. Of those, 3,778 certificates have been issued to short-term rentals, and 3,638 of them are in eastern Placer County. The new regulations only apply to short-term rentals in eastern Placer County, or those that sit above 5,000 feet elevation.
To ensure compliance with fire codes, the ordinance requires fire district staff to conduct a life-safety inspection once every three years to make sure homes are equipped with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and that barbecues and outdoor fireplaces are in compliance.
The county began working on the ordinance after residents came forward urging the county to enforce stricter regulations on property owners. County staff held various public meetings and conducted extensive research about short-term rental ordinances in neighboring jurisdictions.
“We’ve put a lot of time and energy into a lot of public meetings and public comments,” said Supervisor Cindy Gustafson.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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