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Calaveras favors new rental rules for Tulloch

Property owners near Tulloch Reservoir can expect a costlier and more tightly regulated process for offering homes as short-term vacation rentals in a couple months.

Many of their neighbors hope they can now expect some peace and quiet.


The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors approved introduction of a new ordinance setting up a new permitting process for short-term rentals in a 4-0 vote Tuesday. Supervisor Merita Callaway excused herself from the meeting due to illness prior to the discussion.

Among the items included in the proposed ordinance are requirement of annual administrative use permits for those who want to rent out a home, inspections to determine parking capacity, supplying the county with a 24-hour emergency contact phone number, limiting guests to two per bedroom plus two additional people, setting “quiet hours” of 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. and guidelines for revocation of use permits when the ordinance is violated.

Supervisor Debbie Ponte, whose district includes Tulloch, also amended her motion to require 30 days’ notice to neighbors living within 1,000 feet of an approved permit holder and that the 24-hour contact live within 60 miles’ travel from Tulloch.

The measure comes after years of friction. Some Tulloch residents complain of ever-increasing noise, trespassing, and parking and safety concerns. Others have said they need the peak-season income to keep their homes, and that short-term renters are being unfairly singled out for the ongoing problems.

Some questioned why Tulloch and no other part of the county is being targeted.

County Planning Director Rebecca Willis said the issues are unique to the lake.

“Our approach has been to only intervene where needed … this is an area where it is needed,” Willis said. “We don’t have these issues in Arnold. We don’t have these issues in Valley Springs. We’ve specifically designed these regulations to fit the area where the problem is.”

County Planner Darcy Goulart said the ordinance is not meant to be overly heavy-handed.

“We’re not going to revoke somebody’s permit based on one nuisance complaint … we think if we give them the avenue to comply, most people are going to do it,” Goulart said.

The administrative use permit now required to host the rentals costs $2,033, is good for one year, and will likely cost about half that amount to renew annually, according to Goulart. The permit will transfer if the house is sold, and the rentals will be subject to transient occupancy tax collection, she said.

“This is a business, and it’s a privilege and we need to make sure it’s a compatible use with the single-family neighbor next door,” Willis said.

“It’s a start,” Ponte said. “It’s not perfect but this has been a growing issue in Copperopolis for several years.”

The next step is to adopt the ordinance, which is expected to return for a vote at the Feb. 12 board meeting. It will then take 30 days before it takes effect.

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