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Mountain News: California county seeks to collect tax on rentals

Officials estimate more than 54,000 properties in the pool of short-term rentals


TAHOE CITY, Calif. — Placer County officials estimate that 54,600 properties are being used as short-term rentals in the county's unincorporated areas. The county extends from the foothills west of Sacramento to the north shore of Lake Tahoe.

The Lake Tahoe News reported that county officials have retained Host Compliance, a San Francisco-based research firm, at a cost of US$248,000 for a year to collect the transient occupancy tax from lodging properties. The company had helped Truckee identify 460 short-term rentals that were not up to date with tax payments.

In Colorado, city officials in Steamboat Springs have learned that pursuing taxes or fees on short-term rentals to help fund community housing would be complicated, expensive, and perhaps unfeasible, reported Steamboat Today.

Coun. Scott Ford said at a recent meeting that he thinks any fee on rentals would have to be in the form of an additional lodging tax that is placed not only on Airbnb and short-term rentals, but also on hotel accommodations and other rentals of 30 days or fewer. But Airbnb in January started collecting and remitting the required city sales and lodging taxes for all hosts in the city.

The fee on short-term rentals was one of five suggestions from a steering committee that spent months studying the region's housing woes and shortfalls.

Figuring out homes for 13,000

DURANGO, Colo. — If Durango's population grows from today's 18,500 to the 31,500 projected by 2040, where will they all live? A comprehensive plan being reviewed would encourage dense housing within the city as well as annexation of peripheral areas, a consultant told the Durango Herald.

Parking bedevils banff

JASPER, Alta. — Parking continues to bedevil mountain resort towns of the Rockies from Jasper to Ketchum to Park City.

In Jasper, a couple who want to construct a new building have come up with a novel idea: It would be in the deed to the housing units that no cars would be allowed, just like such deeds can restrict dogs and other pets. This would allow them to spend less money and space on parking and deliver larger units to the employees.

But they're also looking into the idea of a car-sharing program for tenants that could cost about $375 per person on top of rent. They point out that Jasper isn't big enough to really require a car, so somebody might not need a car but for once a month, according to an account in the Jasper Fitzhugh.

Talks begin on cannabis rules

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Truckee town officials have started taking comments about how to respond to new authority granted by California voters last November for sale of cannabis for recreational use.

California has allowed sale of marijuana since 1996. Truckee had not chosen to allow sales from dispensaries. But it has yet to decide how to develop local policy in response to the new authority.

The new state law allows Californians to possess and cultivate up to six plants for recreational use. How those plants are allowed to be cultivated is left up to local lawmakers.

Since last April, town officials in Truckee have been tracking the experience of Colorado ski towns to inform their decision-making.