Interview by Stephanie Herrera, Placer County
Short-term rentals are an evergreen topic in Tahoe. As the Basin constantly forges ahead in enacting fair guidelines and practices for such an important tourism staple, Placer County’s short-term rental ordinance is an attempt at walking the line between reducing nuisances (trash, parking, noise) and keeping things enticing for the visitor base.
Jayme Paine is the county’s new supervising code compliance officer. In this exclusive interview, Paine shares what’s top of mind for her with STRs, plus her favorite perks of being a local.
What brought you to Placer County and to the position that you’re in?
I was excited about the opportunity to work in the Tahoe Basin for the community I live in. Combine this with my code compliance experience and work I really enjoy [and] this role is a perfect fit. This position provided a unique opportunity: to work in the community I love, while bridging the gap between residents and visitors.
Tell us a little bit more about your background.
I focused on code enforcement for the City of South Lake Tahoe with the police department for several years. What I loved about the role was the opportunity to problem solve for a variety of projects and the ability to work on a broad spectrum of issues. Working out of the Community Development Resources Agency with Placer County allows me to utilize my background while providing the direct community focus that I love.
What is the short-term rental program trying to achieve?
While I’ll support several county codes, I’ll be focused on implementation of the short-term rental ordinance in the upcoming months. Short-term rentals are a large part of the tourism economy around the lake, but on the other side of that equation is the need to support the residents, who are a large part of our community.
The ordinance sets guidelines and rules for short-term rental operators. These guidelines are passed along to guests to help ensure visitors have the tools to be good neighbors and respectful members of the community. The tools also give an avenue for the full-time residents to voice their concerns and ensure we are all working toward the common goal of a friendly North Lake Tahoe. This is an important goal to ensure everyone is enjoying Tahoe year-round.
The ordinance is meant to be a roadmap for both sides of the conversation — it’s important for the full time residents to have those opportunities to report issues they see in their neighborhoods and it’s important for visitors to have some guidelines regarding how to be a part of the communities that they’re visiting.
What do you love about Tahoe?
Our family has three kids and dogs. We came to Tahoe because it was somewhere that we could afford a home and still have access to an outdoor lifestyle. My husband and I are outside every single day, year-round. We do all outdoor activities such as mountain bike, snowboard, and paddleboard. That’s the special opportunity of living in the Basin, is getting to do those things whenever you choose rather than having to plan a vacation six months or a year out.
I love the mix of the Tahoe region. Being kind of an isolated mountain area, you get people of all types, from all walks of life that come together and create these really funky communities that are perfect because they’re different. It’s a total patchwork type of population and it’s fun to encounter all those different pieces and have them come together.
What is a personal goal for you in this role?
One of the main goals for me at a personal level is to build that bridge between the two sides of the conversation with short-term rentals. I ultimately moved to Tahoe because of my experiences visiting Tahoe. Being a tourist in Tahoe for many years and then ultimately becoming a resident allows me to see both sides. Understanding the importance of both sides paired with being a full-time resident allows me to take a holistic approach to the conversation. This approach enables me to understand the impact of short-term visitors to the community and how to productively address those impacts in a way that works for all parties. I want an STR program that encourages both sides to have successful interactions. I want everyone in our community to have that quality time in North Tahoe — whether it’s their full-time neighborhood or during their vacation. My goal is to support a system that is functional for all the different stakeholders.
What is one of your favorite outdoor areas that you and your family enjoy in Tahoe?
Any day that I can get on a paddleboard and the lake is awesome. Whether it’s at a main city park where you can just put in right next to the parking lot or a longer day when you can paddle out for a longer trip into Emerald Bay — any day on the water is a good day.