At Lake Level April 2021 The official newsletter of the City of South Lake Tahoe

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The City of South Lake Tahoe is pleased to publish its monthly newsletter - "At Lake Level." You can sign up for the newsletter, and other City News, by texting JOIN NEWS to 30890 or clicking here. The monthly newsletter is prepared by the City Manager's Office in an effort to keep our community well-informed about City issues and initiatives.

City Council – Live Public Comment - Practice Now!

Would you like to practice entering the ZOOM meeting before the ZOOM meeting? Are you intimidated by technology or just want to ask a few questions on the process? The City Clerk is here to help! At every City Council meeting there is a place and time for live Public Comment. Don’t let technology stand in your way; have your voice heard!

Practice session will be offered on Tuesday, April 13th at 3:00pm. If you are interested and would like to attend, email City Clerk, Susan Blankenship at sblankenship@cityofslt.us

Join Local Government!

Are you an architect, contractor or citizen looking for a way to participate in Local Government? The City Council is currently soliciting applications for appointment to the Building Board of Appeals. 

Building Board of Appeals: (Two-Year Term) The City Council will be appointing at least three (3) members, but no more than five (5) members to serve a two-year term on the Building Board of Appeals. Applicants must reside and be domiciled within the Tahoe Basin portion of El Dorado County. The Building Board of Appeals meets on an as needed basis. 

Duties of the Building Board of Appeals:

  1. Hear and decide appeals of orders, decisions or determinations made by the Building Official in the application and interpretation of the Building and Housing related codes adopted by the City Council.
  2. Hear and decide appeals regarding requirements of the City relating to the use, maintenance and change of occupancy of buildings and structures, including requirements governing alteration, additions, repair, demolition and moving.
  3. Hear and decide appeals relating to new building construction and appeals relating to existing buildings.

The Board shall have no administrative authority, nor shall it be entitled to waive provisions of the Code in deciding on appeal.

Applications may be obtained at the City Clerk's Office located at 1901 Lisa Maloff Way, South Lake Tahoe, California between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Applications can also be downloaded from the City's website at www.cityofslt.us, mailed, faxed or emailed to interested parties upon request to the City Clerk's Office. Completed applications must be returned to the City Clerk's Office (email preferred sblankenship@cityofslt.us).

The City Council will be making the appointments on an on-going basis until 2-4 vacant seats are filled. For questions, please contact Susan Blankenship, City Clerk at 542-6005 or via email at sblankenship@cityofslt.us

Appeal filed in Measure T Lawsuit

Plaintiff South Lake Tahoe Property Owners Group has appealed the trial court’s judgment upholding Measure T. The trial court issued judgment in favor of the City on February 16, 2021. In deciding the City’s Motion for Summary Judgment, the trial court found all of Plaintiff’s constitutional claims against Measure T except for one be without merit and not needing a trial. The parties agreed to have Plaintiff dismiss its last remaining issue to skip over the trial phase in order to expedite this appeal. The City will be defending Measure T in the appeal. A decision from the court of appeal is expected in early 2022.

South Lake Tahoe voters passed Measure T in the election on November 6, 2018. Measure T was a citizen-initiated ballot measure that amended the City’s vacation home rental ordinance to establish additional restrictions and phase out permits in residential areas and for multi-family properties over 2021. The City has not issued any new vacation home rental permits in residential areas since Measure T became effective on December 10, 2018, and beginning this year is not renewing the annual permits in residential areas and for multi-family properties. Over this year, those permits are expiring at the end of their renewal month.

Parks and Recreation Department partnering for Youth Ambassador Pilot Program

Image credit: Ethnic Council Shepparton

The Parks and Recreation Department is pleased to partner with the Lake Tahoe Unified School District, Lake Tahoe Community College and Sierra Nevada Alliance to design and implement a work development program to inspire local youth to pursue career paths in natural resources, forestry, recreation, environment, and related fields. The program will provide paid positions to about 12 students to serve as Ambassadors in highly visited locations around South Lake Tahoe. The Ambassadors will interact with visitors and share knowledge about the specific natural or historical sites, general information about environmental sensitivities of Tahoe and inspire visitors to be good stewards of Tahoe.

Ambassadors may hand out educational materials on good stewardship, biodegradable garbage bags and request visitors take their garbage home with them. Ambassadors will model good stewardship by picking up trash to protect the Tahoe Basin. Ambassadors will not only be “boots on the ground” but serve as extra “eyes and ears” to report directly to the appropriate City personnel regarding park violations or other issues requiring an immediate response.

The funding for the program is made possible through a variety of grants including Tahoe Fund, and El Dorado Community Foundation and in-kind support from other local organizations. Sierra Nevada Alliance is serving as the fiscal agent to administer the program in coordination with the City of South Lake Tahoe.

The program will be closely monitored and evaluated throughout the summer with the possibility of establishing a regional summer program. It is no secret that Tahoe is experiencing increasing numbers of visitors every year. The Ambassador program is one way to create face to face contact with visitors and local residents to provide information and tools to encourage good stewardship and inspire all to do their part to protect Tahoe for generations to come.

California COVID-19 Rent Relief Program

The State has launched the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Program. The Program provides financial assistance to low-income renters who have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19 and have past due rent and provides financial assistance to landlords who have eligible renters. Renters can also receive help paying future rent and unpaid or future utility bills.

To apply for the program please visit the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief page through the Housing is Key website, or you can call toll-free 833-430-2122.

Spirit of Competition

Back in 2014, shortly after the winter Olympic games, which included several local athletes earning medals and adding to their previous achievements, the idea of a Champions Plaza was born. There are an amazing number of Olympic athletes from the Tahoe Basin and in particular, South Lake Tahoe. During the 2014 winter games local athletes performing on the world stage once again brought significant recognition to our community. Champions Plaza was built in 2015 at the corner of Lakeview Blvd and Hwy 50 to commemorate and acknowledge the outstanding achievement of our community members.

Recently, the City found itself in need of some new vandalism resilient lighting. A staff member in the Public Works Department came up with a design and installation plan that provided just what was needed. As a result, the Spirit of Competition shines bright in Champions Plaza! Thank you to Dennis Churchill for all of your work on this.

For those of you that have not visited Champions Plaza, it includes a small gathering area for events, beautiful views of Lake Tahoe, flag poles and flags, a “Walk of Champions” and a signature piece of public art (a bronze sculpture named the "Spirit of Competition"). At night the sculpture is now well lit and provides a beautiful view of the three athletes reaching out of the flame striving to attain the large ring above.

VHR Enforcement

Image credit: MGN online

Measure T phase out of VHR permits in residential neighborhoods began on January 1, 2021 in the City. The Police Department is following up on expired VHR permits to ensure compliance. Information on expired permits through February is below. We will post summary data for each month through 2021 as it becomes available.

January 2021: 60 VHR permits expired in January and were closed

  • 11 are now changed to long term rentals (>30 days)
  • 24 removed all ads
  • 16 were emailed to remove ads that show no availability
  • 9 received $1,000 citations for unpermitted VHR ads
  • 7 additional VHR permits were closed due to the home being sold or other reasons.

February 2021: 42 VHR permits expired in February and were closed

  • 6 are now changed to long term rentals (>30 days)
  • 13 removed all ads
  • 17 were emailed to remove ads that show no availability
  • 3 received $1,000 citations for unpermitted VHR ads
  • 2 Sold
  • 1 now has a QVHR permit

10 additional VHR permits were closed due to the home being sold or other reasons.

Police Department staff will continue to monitor and take enforcement action on VHR violations. As of March 1, 2021 there are 862 VHR’s left in residential areas. For more information go here.

tHANK YOU TO the kIWANIS Club of Lake Tahoe!

The Police Department would like to thank Tom Millham and the Kiwanis Club of Lake Tahoe for dropping on sandwiches and chips for all Police Department employees on Thursday, March 25th and again on Sunday March 28th. The team is very grateful!


With the arrival of spring, South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue (SLTFR) will begin to transition from winter time operations to those that are more warm weather based. Training topics such as ice water rescue and cold weather emergencies (frost bite and hypothermia) will be stashed away with the Christmas boxes in the attic. The month of April is typically filled with EMS based trainings as we are not quite into the warm weather yet. As we get closer to summer, more outdoor rescue and fire-based trainings will be scheduled.

SLTFR is proud to announce three new promotions. Firefighter/ Paramedics Trent Renner, Dustin Winter and Danny Vallejo were all promoted to the rank of Engineer following a rigorous testing process. The rank of Engineer is as important as any as they drive and operate department apparatus.

To cap off the month of March, our firefighters completed their annual PPE (personal protective equipment) and station inspections. While these inspections are important for the longevity of our members gear and the stations they call home, it also holds them all accountable. Our firefighters take pride in exceeding the high standards that we as an organization have come to expect.

Lastly, SLTFR members recently participated in our annual SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strength, weakness, opportunities, and threats. This is an interactive analysis that gives each of our members the opportunity to speak candidly about things that affect our agency.

What’s going right? What can we improve on? What are some of the things we are faced with that are in or out of our control? This has proven to be a very effective tool in terms of creating and maintaining a fire department that our firefighters and the community can be proud of. As always, South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue will continue to stay trained up and prepared for the next emergency we are faced with. 

South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue holds two-day Drive thru vaccination clinic

South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue has stayed vigilant in the ongoing fight against COVID-19 as we continue to be heavily involved in community vaccinations. Our most recent clinic was held at the city recreation center where we were able to vaccinate over 950 community members. This could not have been accomplished without the combined help of city staff members, South Lake Tahoe Police Department, South Tahoe Action Team, California Conservation Corps, and many others from in and out of the area. It is our goal to continue to host monthly clinics in hopes to soon have everyone vaccinated who chooses to be.

Celebrating Earth Day 2021!

Image credit: Jacob_09/Shutterstock

While we may not be able to participate with an in-person organized event on Earth Day which is Thursday, April 22nd, there are still ways that you can make a difference! And remember that Earth Day is every day of the year, so you can participate any time!

This year’s theme per Earthday.org is “Restore our Earth”. On their website, they have shared 51 ways that you can “Restore our Earth” which you can do virtually during Earth week. These tips range from supporting the Great Global Cleanup by picking up trash while enjoying the outdoors, or changing your diet for one day during the week to fight Climate Change by participating in Meatless Mondays or tuning into the Earth Day Live series on Thursday, April 22nd to learn firsthand from experts about campaigns and ways that you can help from a grassroots level. These are just a few ideas, but there are many more to choose from. To learn more go here .

In addition, the City of South Lake Tahoe has partnered with Take Care Tahoe and other local agencies to put together a virtual Earth Week. Beginning Monday, April 19th, each day of the week will have a theme with a list of virtual activities that you can participate in. The Parks and Recreation Department has also added a few additional events ranging from a Virtual 5k to a Nature Scavenger Hunt. For more details, go here.


Photo Credits for background images (in sequential order) (1) Conolley Beach-Kim DeYoung (2) Untitled-Kristen Quinn (3) Calm before the storm-Laine Photolabs (4) Pixaby-free image (5) Untitled-Kristen Quinn (6) Untitled-Alma Bretado (7) Emerald Bay-Ric Small (8) Pixaby-free image (9) Lam Watah Nature Trail-Kim DeYoung (10) Pixaby-free image