Counties Hear Concerns On Short-Term Rentals


As a push for broader, more comprehensive regulations on short-term rentals in the region, Washoe and Placer counties have held multiple workshops providing a platform for community feedback about new ordinances. Moonshiners attended events in both counties and heard many community testimonials and opinions from renters and neighbors alike. Concerns raised at one Washoe workshop included visitors being uninformed about local issues such as wildlife, trash, and wildfire danger; Placer STR owners said they wouldn’t be able to afford to live in the Sierra without their income from STRs, although there was general agreement from concerned neighbors and renters alike that better regulation was necessary.

“We are very concerned that we get this right, that we proceed with an ordinance that we start and do well and don’t backtrack or create issues or unintended consequences,” said Cindy Gustafson, District 5 county supervisor at the first Placer workshop and information session.


Placer’s proposed ordinance seeks to streamline the application process for owners by being more informative, laying out financial consequences for rule-breaking by renters and owners alike, and creating infrastructure for enforcement. It includes provisions like proof of a functioning bear box and trash removal service, occupancy restrictions of two renters per room, and requiring a local contact available at all times and able to be onsite within an hour. Washoe proposed a number of options, aiming to “adopt simple, fair and enforceable regulations for short-term rentals that balance competing interests and maximize voluntary compliance.”

Lake Tahoe Man Convicted of Murder


Jeremy Virgo was convicted of shooting his girlfriend, Deborah Patton, and their dog on Feb. 11, 2018. El Dorado County Sheriff deputies responded to 911 calls reporting gunshots in the area of Timber Wolf Drive in Tahoma. On Sept. 18, Jeremy Virgo was found guilty of the first-degree murder of Patton, assault with a deadly weapon on an officer, cruelty to an animal, and possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. Virgo is set to be sentenced on Nov. 18.

For Traffic Relief, District Looks at Tolls, Fees


The Tahoe Transportation District is in the process of evaluating funding sources for creating a more connected and complete transit system. A workshop entitled ONE TAHOE sought to inform the community and receive feedback on their progress on reviewing funding sources originally curated using a community process. Criteria including environmental, equity, and business concerns has narrowed funding options to five choices: a cordon pricing/Basin entry fee, a vehicle miles traveled fee, tolling, a zoned transportation user fee, and a vacancy tax. These will undergo a final feasibility analysis to determine which could finance projects to offset what TTD estimates is a $1.53 billion budget deficit for implementation in the projected time frame from 2017 to 2040. The comprehensive approach to ONE TAHOE incorporating a transit ecosystem includes “realistic alternatives to the car” like bike and pedestrian trails, app-based rideshare options, boats, and frequent bus routes. “We need to find ways of allowing [visitors] choices about how to get here so that not everybody has to be in a car,” District Manager Carl Hasty told Moonshine Ink about the effort.

$1 Billion Final County Budget Approved


The Board of Supervisors approved the county’s final 2019/20 budget of $1 billion, an increase of 3% from the previous year’s budget of $970.9 million. The board adopted a proposed budget of $960.5 million on June 25 for the county’s fiscal year which began July 1. The final budget reflects updated revenues and costs. Property taxes, the county’s largest revenue source, continue to trend upward with increased property values. Sales taxes, transient occupancy taxes, and other revenue sources also continue to improve; however, growth from those revenues is expected to soften as financial experts contemplate the potential for an economic slowdown.

Surviving Cardiac Arrest


North Tahoe Fire and Tahoe City Public Utility District are working to increase the survivability of a cardiac arrest by installing an automated external defibrillator at the popular Commons Beach in downtown Tahoe City. AEDs are designed to be used by the general public, including bystanders with no medical training, by using voice prompts to guide the user through the process.

KEEPING MEADOWS CLEAR: The Tahoe Resource Conservation District acquired Johnson Meadow in 2018 and has been working to restore the meadow, river, and sensitive aspen grove habitats, but there is a lot more work to be done. Photo courtesy League to Save Lake Tahoe

Restoring Johnson Meadow


Over 70 community members gathered at the end of September on a stretch of meadow in South Lake Tahoe for the 22nd annual Tahoe Forest Stewardship Day. Until recently, Johnson Meadow had been one of the last remaining pieces of privately owned land along the Upper Truckee River, making it a key component to the larger river restoration efforts currently underway. Teams of volunteers, led by the League to Save Lake Tahoe and Tahoe RCD staff as well as a crew from the California Conservation Corps, worked on multiple restoration projects. Funding from the Bureau of Reclamation will allow future restoration planning through the Tahoe Resource Conservation District.

Paiute Cutthroat Trout Reintroduced to Native Habitat


California’s native Paiute cutthroat trout, the rarest trout in North America, swims once again in its High Sierra home waters for the first time in more than 100 years. Representatives from federal and state agencies joined biologists in mid-September to release 30 Paiute cutthroat trout of varying sizes into Silver King Creek in Alpine County.

Not since the early 1900s have genetically pure Paiute cutthroat trout occupied the 11-mile stretch of Silver King Creek between Llewellyn Falls and Snodgrass Creek that represents almost the entirety of the fish’s historic range.

TTUSD Projects Delayed


Among the laundry list of capital improvement projects the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District is undergoing are renovation of Truckee High School’s west wing building and the addition of a library and media center, but that project is delayed a year. The buildings themselves were completed last year and house science, engineering, art, and media classes as well as a fabrication lab. Construction at Tahoe Lake Elementary is also set back, now slated for completion in 2020 due to unexpected complications. These circumstances have put TTUSD $40 million over budget on the projects.

New Multi-Use Trailhead Up and Running


The ongoing North Tahoe Regional Park project to complete the North Tahoe Trail, under development by Placer County, included restoration of the upper parking lot and development and construction of a multi-use regional trailhead. Asphalt reconstruction and restriping for 62 parking spaces and permanent stormwater solutions for the parking lot were completed. This project also constructed paved ADA/multi-use access paths to Tahoe TreeTop Adventure Park, tennis courts, and the Tahoe Unleashed dog park. These projects and other minor repairs are funded by grants, moneys from Placer County, and a partnership with the Truckee Tahoe Airport District.

Public Servants Sought


The Town of Truckee is currently seeking three types of members for the Historic Preservation Advisory Commission: one professional in the discipline of architecture, historic, architectural history, planning, or historic preservation; one Truckee-Donner Historical Society representative; and one lay member. It is preferred that members reside, work, or own property or a business in the Historic Preservation Overlay District.

Additionally, Placer County’s municipal advisory councils for Meadow Vista, Weimer-Applegate-Colfax, Donner Summit, North Tahoe, and Squaw Valley each have an open seat to fill and interested citizens are encouraged to apply. Vacancies will be nominated for appointment by District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson and approved by the board of supervisors as a whole.

ALL SMILES: Hardy Bullock formally announced his decision to run for Nevada County District 5 Supervisor at Philosophy in mid-September. Photo by Mayumi Elegado/Moonshine Ink

Nevada County Supervisor Candidate Hardy Bullock Endorsed by Incumbent


Hardy Bullock, director of aviation and community services for Truckee Tahoe Airport, will run for a soon-to-be-vacant Nevada County District 5 Supervisor seat. Richard Anderson, who Bullock is running to replace, announced his retirement in mid-September and has endorsed Bullock, having previously appointed him to the Nevada County Planning Commission in 2018.

Hospital District Reduces Tax Rate on Bonds


Tahoe Forest Health System has refinanced a portion of the district’s General Obligation bonds, reducing taxes to local property owners. In 2006, the community passed the district’s Measure C bonds by a 72% supermajority vote in the amount of $98.5 million. The district had refinanced other portions of the bonds in 2015/2016. With the recent refinancing, the district has achieved a total savings and reduction in property taxes to taxpayers of $20,393,113 over the remaining life of the bonds.

Among other benefits, the GO bond funds have supported the construction of the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center, renovation and improvements to the emergency department and skilled nursing facility, central plant upgrades, and improvements in radiology equipment.

TTUSD Launches Student Media Group


Tahoe Truckee Unified School District announced the launch of Tahoe Truckee Media Services, an educational and governmental access station, which is a restructured version of Tahoe Truckee Community Television. The new station’s mission is to focus on “the needs of the school district, local governmental entities, and nonprofit organizations in Tahoe/Truckee,” according to a release. The station will stream public meetings, instructional activities, and district-sponsored activities and events. Nonprofits will also have the opportunity to broadcast updates and the media group will broadcast educational programming on channel 6. Contact Rory O’Farrell at or at (530) 582-1194 for info.

New Bike Racks Installed Around the Basin


Year two of an initiative spearheaded by the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition with grants from the Tahoe Fund and Squaw Valley’s $5 Fridays promotion resulted in the installation of 126 new bike racks at businesses in the Tahoe Basin this summer. In the past two years, over 340 new bike racks that provide security for nearly 700 bikes, two public repair stations that feature a permanent bike stand and tools for common repairs, and five public fix-it stations with tools and a pump have been installed at businesses and outdoor recreation locations in the Tahoe Basin.


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