IV/CB Community Forum Minutes

October 23, 2020

Peter Todoroff – Moderator

John Crockett – Washoe County Library Zoom-master

Ronda Tycer – Recap Editor [The link to the recording of the meeting is https://youtu.be/uAd-M2v1tZA

Ryan Sommers – NLTFPD

We’ve had wildland fires in the district. Through an investigation and a great job by Fire Prevention, we identified a person of interest. They were not malicious and not on purpose. Because it’s an ongoing investigation, the person of interest has been removed from the Tahoe basin. We know what happened. Took the gentleman to a higher level of care that he needed. [Peter Todoroff: Any other fires?] No, we’re all looking good. We’re getting ready for winter. All personnel is back from fires elsewhere with the exception of one part-time person who’s still out in California. He doesn’t impact our operations. So we’re looking good and just continuing down the road.

Sara Schmitz – Incline Village General Improvement District – Trustee

I have a question for our Fire Chief. There are properties that have not done their defensible space—pine needles on roofs and so on. I’ve also received some emails I’ve shared with North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District regarding property disposing of their pine needle on US Forest Service land. What does the NLTFPD do in these circumstances to protect community?

Ryan Sommers

There are several issues involved. As far as defensible space, I believe you’ve been in contact with our Fire Marshall. She’s explained the process to you—that we do “drive-by’s.” We note that if they’re not compliant with defensible space mandates, we send a letter asking for compliance. We’ve had fairly decent compliance with that with the exception of your neighbor. I apologize for that but I don’t know what more to do. We started the process, but the process takes a long time. There are steps we have to follow before we can go on the property. Unfortunately it takes 1 ½ -2 years with all the legalities. We are doing what we can do bound by the process and laws that are in place. We have taken care of one property on Country Club. We are basically in litigation with them. We ended up going in and doing the work and putting a lien on their property they’ll have to pay with their property taxes.

I’m not aware of the pine needles being dumped on USFS land. We do have recourse. The USFS has their LEOs up there in the basin. We’re in contact with them twice a month on different issues. I’ll make sure they’re in the loop on that, and it will be up to them to enforce. It will be difficult to try to find who’s actually doing it.

In my admittedly biased opinion, we’re doing quite a bit for the property owners of IVCB to make citizens fire safe given the red tape that’s in place.

Peter Todoroff

Is anyone from TRPA here? I looked at my list and didn’t see anybody.

Sara Schmitz

I think we scared them away at our last meeting.

Peter Todoroff

That’s okay. I think we have Richard Miner who wants to speak.

Richard Miner – League to Save Incline Neighborhoods

I want to give a brief update on the efforts Andy Whyman and I are spearheading to gather a list of parties interested in participating—should it come to it—legal action regarding IVCB short-term rentals. I’ve copied everybody who’s responded with an update or two. I see Marsha Berkbigler is on. Good morning Marsha. [Marsha Berkbigler, “Good morning.”] Andy and I would like to calendar a meeting with you if we can do it face-to-face or 6-feet distance or via zoom in the next week or so. Maybe you can contact me either on my cell phone or we could call your office to calendar that.

Marsha Berkbigler – Washoe County Commissioner – District 1

Why don’t you call me. I’ll be happy to come up to Incline so we can meet there if you want. Call me on my personal cell 843-0150.

Richard Miner

We’ve met with several attorneys. We’ve taken a look at a lot of the legal issues involved. We know Washoe is still working through the text of the proposed legislation. Interestingly, we now know that one and maybe several NV State legislators will introduce legislation in the new session for some state-wide mandates to regulate STRs. We’re also looking at the legalities going all the way back to the 2004 TRPA determination that STRs are a legitimate residential use of property. We feel there’s a lot of exposure there, too. We’re just at the fact-finding stage. So I don’t want to misstate anything we’re doing. We’re certainly not involved in any legal proceedings just now. We do have over 40 people who’ve responded saying they’re willing to support legal action with financial contributions and so forth. If it comes to that, I suspect there will be easily double that number who will contribute. With that said, I’m asking once again that any interested parties who want to join this group, contact me via email at raldenm@aol.com. We’ll put you on our list and we’ll keep you informed of what we’re doing. Thank you.

Peter Todoroff

Talking about STRs, yesterday I attended Conversation Café and Mr. Blane Johnson is involved in STRs. Our IVGID General Manager was there as well. They mentioned the pipeline. It’s fine and dandy the County is dealing on the STR Ordinance, but whenever I see a listing of a 3-bedroom house that sleeps 12, it raises issues of what pressure that puts on our utility district—water and especially sewer. We have a bad sewer pipeline and I think this is something that needs to be addressed. What are we getting from STRs other than a lot of complaints? IVGID needs a new sewer pipeline and we’re saving money, but we’re getting nothing from the problem that’s causing the extra use. STRs are causing extra pressure on our utility district.

Marsha Berkbigler

One of the proposals on my list that’s been circulating is there are going to be fees associated with STR use. If you’re doing a STR and you don’t follow these very strict rules—and you’ll also pay some significant licensing fees—that money will be allocated for uses in IVCB only. We figure that 90% of the STRs in Washoe County are in IVCB, so 90% of any money that’s collected will go to IVCB for that purpose. That’s the intention of what I’m proposing to put in the regulations. Hopefully I won’t have a problem with the other Commissioners. Most of this relates to our concerns in the Basin. The point I’ve been making is if we don’t address this now, IV is going to be a vacation destination only—not a residential area. And we need to fix that. I’m very happy that a few legislators have told me they are addressing this legislatively at the state level. I’m hoping between what we do at the County level with the Ordinance and regulations in effect hopefully in the first quarter of next year, and what the Legislature does starting in February… I’m going to work hand-in-glove with those two legislators on that issue. It’s very clear that these are issues that must be addressed and taken care of. I’m very concerned about Incline as you know. I get a lot of complaints, but I think that we got the District Attorney to give us an opinion that because IVCB sits in the Planning area for the Basin under TRPA authority, we can have different rules. That’s a long fight we won. Now we’re moving forward aggressively. I want to set it up so that any money from STRs goes back to IVCB.

Joe Farrell – Incline Village Resident

Thanks Marsha for all your work. What is the time line for citizens to give comment to the draft-regulations you sent out? Ronda and Diane are part of that.

Marsha Berkbigler

I’ve asked to get it back on the agenda the first meeting in December. That will be to say, “here are the regulations—here are the proposed changes–now craft something that fits what we want.” And then get the Commissioners to vote on that. Than you’ll have a document. You’ll have a 30-day period to make comments. We’ll get this back on the agenda the first meeting in February for a first reading, and then the first meeting in March for a second reading. It will be in effect and we can start. It will take us probably another 30-45 days to get all the regulations written. That’s why it’s so important we don’t wait; that we move forward on this

right now. I think it’s going to be good.

Sara Schmitz

Are the realtors backing the language you’ve put forth?

Marsha Berkbigler

Probably not completely, but you don’t get everything you want. They’ve been good to work with me up to this point. But we’re going to be asking for things they don’t necessarily want. But that’s okay. They don’t run Incline Village. What they’ve been doing up to this point is a bit concerning. Again, I go back to… if you don’t do something, this won’t be a village. This will be nothing more than a vacation place.  That has to be addressed. That’s why IVCB needs more restrictive regulations. I work routinely with realtors, and I will try to make things as workable for all of us as possible. I cut deals and make things workable. But at the same time we have to make sure we get something that’s workable for residents of IV. That’s the key, the residents of Incline Village.

Peter Todoroff

Marsha, I have one other pet peeve I want to mention about the marijuana dispensary. I’ve gone through this before. When they cut the number of dispensaries down from 3 to 1, I requested that the money from the Incline dispensary stays in Incline Village. I asked what is it going for. I’d like to know if this is taking place. I fought to get this done, and I want it to benefit IV. Like I told you before, my doctor said, “if anybody should have medical marijuana, it’s you.” But I’m a veteran, so I can’t have it. I don’t care. It’s not going to happen for me ever, and I understand that. But I went down and fought for something I thought was right. So I want to know If this money is going to come to IV and not go into a slush fund like they did with the CA lottery money that was supposed to go for education, but didn’t. We want to know that definitely the money’s going to come back here.

Marsha Berkbigler

The amount of money that Washoe County has collected is insignificant compared to Clark County and places like that. I don’t know but I don’t think we’ve used it for anything yet. I think what happened is COVID came into play too soon after we got everything up and running. That impacted marijuana facilities. I’m not sure if they were ever closed. The pharmacies were open, so marijuana facilities were also medical and stayed open.

I asked to see how much comes in from Incline’s facility. It hasn’t been broken out. I’m working with Christine our County Assistant Manager of Finance to look at that process as we move into the next year. I hope to have answers I don’t have right now. But I agree that was an agreement we all made. If we’re going to agree to a facility in the small village of Incline, the money needs to benefit IV in some way.  I’ve not seen that happen, but I don’t know. There’s not been a presentation before us during budget time to spend that money on anything. I’m not sure where it’s at right now. But I will get that information for you by the next time we’re on this call.

Peter Todoroff

Thank you. I notice Douglas County is adding another marijuana facility, so they must be making money for Douglas County. That’s fine, but I want to make sure that money stays in Incline. It’s not going to help me but I fought for this and it’s near and dear to me.

I don’t see Todd Lowe on today’s meeting. Marsha, by any chance do you have any information about the refund from the Tax Revolt lawsuit?

Marsha Berkbigler

I know it’s been approved. The judge signed the document approving the settlement. There’s still an issue with the Washoe County School District. They’re trying to get themselves out of having to repay the $20 million they took, and want the County to pay it back. I don’t know where that’s at but I don’t know that it matters. It’s not going to disrupt the settlement. The settlement is there. Todd and his team are working with the County Treasurer and Assessor getting the details together. Last week I saw an email detailing what they’re doing, so it’s moving forward. There should be more information. I believe our deadline date is in December so there will be more information released before then. But the deal’s done. The judge signed off on it. Yea! We’re moving forward and will stop accruing interest on the amount.

[Todd Lowe sent the following to be added to the minutes:

Ronda and Pete,

My apologies.  Conflicts prevented me from attending yesterday’s forum.  Had I done so I would have said five things: 

1. The actions mandated by the settlement agreement between IV/CB residents and the County are moving forward, albeit somewhat slowly because of the attempts by WCSD to intervene.

2. The Treasurer and her staff are diligently getting their website built but I don’t expect completion until November.

3. We published one of our email Alerts announcing the availability of an online refund lookup facility.  Some 500 taxpayers have already used it.  We’d encourage all residents owning property here during the 2003 through 2005 tax years to visit.   Our Alerts go to many folks but not all.  Forwarding the Alert to friends and neighbors will help get the word out.  Alternately, folks can go directly to this link on the Village League website:  https://nevadapropertytaxrevolt.org/?page_id=22 

4. Those wishing to be on our Alert distribution list can add their names at https://nevadapropertytaxrevolt.org/?page_id=17  .  Additionally, those already on the Alert list can visit this link and read updated information about the Alert Email Group.

5. The outcome of the attempt by the WCSD to block the settlement will not be known for many weeks.]

Sara Schmitz

Marsha, I have a question. As a community how can we be more informed earlier in the process of TTD and TRPA activities? It seems we’re always finding out things late in the game. What can we do as a community to be more informed earlier about the issues impacting our community?

Marsha Berkbigler

I’m trying to forward the agendas for all these meetings. I just got the agenda yesterday for the TRPA meeting on Thursday of next week. I’ll give it to Peter to distribute. Take a look at the agenda. See if there are specific issues of concern. I’ll review it, and like the TTD meeting last time, I’ll say “take a look at this.” I think going forward that’s the best way. Because I have so many irons in the fire, I’m not always immediately on top of something that’s going to impact Incline Village or Crystal Bay. So I get the agendas a week ahead of time. If there are things I think you ought to look at, I’ll highlight issues, but let me know if you see things that concern you. Sometimes when we’re in meetings, an issue will come up and I’ll know that it’s of concern to Incline. The transportation issue is important I think but you guys are really on top of that already. You’ve been on top of the issue with the transit hub and what’s going on with that. I don’t think you have anything with the shoreline going on right now. Your beaches are all private. Some pier things are impacting Incline residents who also have property in King’s Beach. Generally speaking I think the top issues for now are the issues related to transportation that are going on around the lake. Those we’ll keep a close eye on. Sara, you know as much or more about what’s going on with TRPA as I do. I know you’ll be on top of it also. We’re just going to have to work closer together on issues that are getting so active with the transportation and environmental issues. But the best way is for you guys to get the agendas.

Ronda Tycer – IV STR Citizen Advisory Group – Co-chair

I’d like to mention that Sunday October 25 is the deadline for giving our input to TRPA’s Regional Transportation committee if we want to comment on the Old Incline Elementary School being used as a bus hub.  We have until Sunday to make our opinions known to Michelle Glickert (mglickert@trpa.org).

Marsha Berkbigler

Some people have already sent in their comments. I got copied on a couple of them.

Peter Todoroff

I’ll send out the information. This is very important. If it happens it will destroy this community forever. Once they use that property for a hub, it’s gone. We have no property on which to build anything.

Steve Dolan – Incline Village Resident, Friends of Third Creek

Thank you. This is related to Sara’s question. Sara puts out a wonderful newsletter of sorts with announcements. My experience for the past 15 years is that most of these issues—particularly with the TRPA—come up years in advance. You have to pay a long-term attention. For example, with TRPA you can’t come into the TTD hub right now and say we weren’t uninformed. It seems like a lot of people are outraged that they’re not informed, but I attend a lot of TRPA meetings where I’m the only IV resident. So I’d recommend you go to the TRPA website and ask them for their emails for meetings, and then look at those agendas. The issue with the TTD has been going on for a few years, and it’s only been the last 6 months that our community has been involved in protesting it because it surfaced as a purchase concept. Again my experience is when it surfaces, it’s already gone through a lot of phases with TRPA or the NV Conservation District or with the USFS.  As a community we need to put it on our emails and get notices. They exist.

I’m on USFS list and I get noticed for every meeting around the lake. I forward some of them out to the “Friends of Third Creek.” Those meetings pertain to their proposals and they ask for comments. If you joined those websites and continue your wonderful letter, you might find we get involved sooner rather than too late.

Marsha Berkbigler

Steve is right on because I don’t get a lot of those notices. I get TRPA notices and notices pertaining to the Local Government Committee. I get the TTD things that relate to the budget, but not all the other things like grants that are going on. I never hear anything on Third Creek except when Steve sees something that’s going to be a problem and he contacts me. So for those of you who are concerned about specific areas, get on the lists. For example the Tyrolean bike trail I never knew anything about until it became an issue for you guys. That’s helpful to me because I won’t necessarily know everything that’s going on in the Basin.

Sara Schmitz

Steve, I appreciate your comment. This is why commenting now on the Regional Transportation Plan is so important. They’re calling it the 2045 plan. But if you look at it, it seems as if they don’t understand our environment. They’re proposing and suggesting people in our community should be using scooters instead of cars. It’s as if they don’t realize we have winter and very steep hills. So some of their ideas are just not realistic. Their plan talks about a water taxi into Incline Village. I brought up that our beaches are private, their response was, “Oh, don’t worry about it. We’ll work with the HOA.” They have no clue that it’s not an HOA but a General Improvement District and our beaches are private. They showed in a presentation that the majority of summer traffic comes over Spooner Summit. And their solution is to provide busing. They didn’t think about all the construction vehicles, and how many of us go to Carson City to shop because of cheaper sales tax. Some of their ideas suggest they don’t understand the community for which they’re putting this plan together. As Steve said, if we need to get involved early in the process, that means now.  

Please send in your comments. Look at their document. I have included it as a link in my last few IVCB Community First newsletters. Please take time to look at it and provide comments to Michelle Glickert. Thank you Steve for encouraging that early involvement.

Steve Dolan

You’re welcome. This TRPA Regional Transportation Plan has been going on a long time. I’ve sent alternative properties with phone numbers that are available for purchase. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, maybe we can do something about it, but once they have let it out of the bag that they’re going to try to purchase property, and then they authorize the purchase, I feel frustrated that we don’t really have a chance. It’s too late in the game. But good luck.

Peter Todoroff

I’ve made suggestions several years ago about this. I’ve gone to these meetings when they were up here—not to South Shore where they have their TRPA meetings. I told Middlebrook you shouldn’t be using that property. But like Sara says, they’re not in tune with what’s going on here. Just like Kristina Hill reporting on the Tyrolean bike path. What a disaster that is. What happens if we have precipitation? What’s going to happen to all that road? It’s unbelievable they don’t listen to what our community has to say. When you find out you’re beating your head against the wall and it’s not going to move, you finally give up and say, “No matter what I say it’s not going to work, so why even bother to attend these meetings?” The TRPA had a webinar on the transportation plan and said we’re going to do this and this and this. And I asked “What happens in the summer if we have a fire coming from California, west to east? How is this community going to get out? They didn’t even post the question during the webinar, let alone answer it—and to me that is the most important transportation question there is.

Steve Dolan

Marsha, related to Kristina’s complaint about the bike path and the work they did there. I sent Sara a series of photos and videos that show portions of Incline Creek—not Third Creek—but equally as important. Over the years, Incline Creek has had a lovely sandy bottom. The concern is, already, like in Third Creek, the dust from that bike path project is now in our creek. The spawning salmon are forced to locate in other sections of the stream–impacting and crowding their spawning area. I sent evidence to Sara. What that means is that

we have two situations where the USFS has taken advantage of the MOU with TRPA. That MOU basically lets the fox guard the hen house. These two big projects above Incline Village impacting two of the most important streams in Nevada entering into Lake Tahoe haven’t used proper BMPs. And now the dam looks great and the BMPs are in place, but the process was bass-ackwards. That’s the problem. There’s photo evidence I’ve sent Sara, and now because I monitor fish in both streams, now the salmon are impacted by it. The dirt is right there.  As a commissioner and a Board member for Tahoe Regional Transportation Agency and I think you’re still a Board member for the Nevada Conservation District [Marsha Berkbigler – I actually chair that]. Well those entities need to get on the USFS. Do not trust them. I have photo evidence in two instances of their problems because they’re self-monitoring with the MOU from TRPA.

Marsha Berkbigler

Let me address that. You may have noticed the haze in the sky yesterday. Down in the valley the mountains were extremely hazy. So I talked to the Fire Chief with the County Manager to see if we were getting blow-over smoke. And they said no, it’s actually dust from California because of the drought. Apparently there was a report from the USFS that the drought is so bad in areas of California, as wind blows, there’s no water to hold dirt. The dust is blowing straight into the basin. I know the USFS is trying to address that concern, but what do you do about drought?

Steve Dolan

This has nothing to do with drought.

Marsha Berkbigler

I know this doesn’t but I just wanted to point out that there’s a bigger picture than just the damage these guys did by not putting in correct BMPs. I have met with TRPA on that and said that can’t go on. You guys can’t just say “We have an MOU with them” and therefore they can do what they want. They’re polluting our side of the lake, which is unacceptable. So you need to watch them more carefully. I’ll meet and talk with them on Wednesday of next week.

Ryan Sommers

Which Fire Chief did you talk to?

Marsha Berkbigler

Our Fire Chief down in the valley. I talked to Chief Mort.

I also want to talk a bit about COVID. I sit on the District Health Board. Yesterday I had the opportunity to converse with the other members and Kevin Dick about schools, sporting events, and all the things that are going on… the inconsistencies in the orders from the Governor and his lead team watching over COVID. There are a lot of inconsistencies.

It would appear that Washoe County is in—or approaching—their third peak. The difference between Washoe County and Clark County is in Washoe we had a peak, we came down a little bit, then we had a second peak, that came down a little bit. Now we’re higher in numbers and hospitalizations. We’re fortunate we haven’t had a lot of deaths. We’re fortunately that it was a much slower process, because now we know much more about the disease, and they’re treating the disease with different types of drugs. So that’s really important.

An international study funded by the CDC (which like them or not they still have responsibility for health care in the United States)… found that if 95% of people in America would wear a mask when they step out of their house regardless of what they’re doing (that’s all who don’t have health problems preventing them from wearing a mask)…you could stop 100,000 deaths by March of 2021.

We are fortunate we didn’t have a tragedy early on like NY and FL and Las Vegas. Because of the way our disease tracked, we’re now in an area where you get lots more attention because we know so much more about this disease. It’s important especially in a community like Incline where you’re a close village and you’re going to have out-of-area visitors and a lot of new people in the area, that you wear masks. And encourage businesses to not let customers in without a mask. It’s so important we do everything we can to limit this disease. Also get your flu shots. It could get a lot worse before it gets better. I’m just cautioning you guys to work through the whole process. I’ll keep you informed on everything I hear. We do a call every Tuesday morning so we get updated. I think Ryan might be on that call too, or should be.

One other thing, I saw Andy Whyman’s phone number pop up on the screen here. Whenever I think of Andy I think of the opioid problem in America., not because he has anything to do with the problem but because he has lots to do with trying to fix it. Washoe County joined a State-wide lawsuit against the opioid manufacturer Perdue Pharmaceuticals. They just agreed to pay $8 billion to different states and municipalities where people overdosed on opioids. We’ve received from our legal counsel an assessment on that. If it’s available I’ll release it to Peter so he can distribute it.  That issue is moving forward. Because that company also filed for bankruptcy I don’t know how much we’ll get and how much will be eaten up by lawyers. We will get some money for various health-care issues.

Kristina Hill – Washoe County Board of Adjustment – Member

I’d like to say something about the Transportation District and TRPA and the USFS.  They don’t realize we’re becoming a zoom-town. It’s a zoom-town because people can use zoom to do what we’re doing right now. People from the Bay Area are buying all the houses around my neighborhood. They are going to be living here because you can work from home. You’ll notice at Raley’s, the post office, and other places we go around to every day, the population has doubled—at least. It’s insane how crowded it is at this time in the shoulder season. Just wait for Christmas and Spring Break. It appalls me that TRPA is still trying to approve tourist attractions– fancy trails etc. You know people aren’t going to ride their bikes up here to go on that trail. They’re going to drive here… clogging our roads. it’s just another attraction to incentivize more people to come.

If everyone is getting involved in TRPA and TTD meetings, I think one of the major points of concern is the increase in population and the increase in attracting people to our community. That’s creating traffic problems, air quality problems, erosion problems, sedimentation in Incline and Third Creeks. I don’t know if you’ve all had a chance to see the kokanee salmon spawning in Incline Creek. The spawning is fabulous. Just go to the bridge between Ski Beach and the Hyatt. On the north side of the bridge you can see beautiful kokanee salmon spawning. It’s sad that is Incline Creek and that’s what’s being destroyed by that stupid mountain-bike “featured” trail.

Jack Dalton, MD – Incline Village Resident

Regarding the $8.8 billion lawsuit settlement, it’s unfortunately with bankruptcy and the family who benefitted in the billions… have only been assessed civil penalties of $225 million. It’s not so clear about the criminal penalties, but they’ve skated. The issue I’m concerned about is I’ve been walking around Incline for political purposes. It’s interesting the number of people who don’t know about STRs. Not just young; not just old. They don’t know. And one of the IVGID candidates Blane Johnson has clearly said he wants this to be a vacation rental place. He’s in favor because that’s his business. This is what he thinks it should be.

And now that the estimate is that COVID won’t be over until 2022, people don’t want to travel. And if you want to travel in the US, try booking a flight, and you’ll find flights have tripled in price. I’ve tried booking three flights to New York—the first one last February cancelled in April, then again cancelled in July, and now booked for the end of December. The price has tripled, so people won’t be able to afford travel.

Many people have already voted, myself included. Thanks John. The library is doing a nice setup for voting. We should not have a candidate who thinks Incline should be a vacation rental. One of the issues mentioned is that Incline’s small businesses don’t benefit from STRs. I heard that at yesterday’s meeting and from another businessperson. They don’t benefit because the short-term renters who come don’t go to restaurants. They go to Raley’s. They pack 10-12 into the house. They cook there. They do the rest of the stuff. But they don’t use our businesses. So it’s really important who we vote for. Don’t vote for someone who believes this should become a vacation site. It already is.

Nancy McGill – Washoe County Sheriff Office Deputy

I hope all are doing well. At the last meeting somebody mentioned how to deal with disturbing the peace. So I want to describe your options. Sara Schmitz is familiar with how to do this because she has a STR next to her that disturbs her peace weekly. You get a new group of people in. They’re on vacation. They don’t care if they’re in a residential neighborhood. Whenever those contracts are signed by the vacation rental company regardless of which one, they usually have a clause in there that says most of these rentals are in residential areas with HOAs or other ordinances, and you must abide by those ordinances. So renters can’t feign any ignorance of laws.

Your peace can be disturbed for a variety of reasons, and you have the right to have people cited for disturbing your peace. I’m using vacation rentals as an example. Historically, most of the time someone calls our dispatch center to say, “Hey, the guys next door are throwing a party. It’s 11pm. I’m trying to get some sleep. Can you please tell them to quiet down. No I don’t want to cite them. I just want them to shut up.” In a nutshell, that’s historically the kind of calls we get. So our deputies go over and say turn it down, or they shut the party down. Whatever the issue is. Usually we get compliance. If we don’t, we go back and ask if the person who called wants us to issue a citation. Understandably, if you have a new group that comes in every week—it’s a different group not the same family—you will have more of these problems and more disturbances.

So the three options you have:

1. Do nothing. That’s what lots of people do. They just bear it.

2. Call our dispatch center and ask them to be quieted down and request not to be contacted. But there’s a caveat to this option. As the years have gone by we’ve had more calls for service. And a disturbing-the-peace call is a lower priority call. Sometimes they can be cancelled by supervisors. And they may or may not tell you they’re cancelling the call.  So you end up enduring the disturbance for however long, and you’re frustrated because at no time did you see a deputy show up. It’s frustrating and I understand that. But the supervisors have that discretion. Sometimes the supervisors don’t remember in IV we don’t have that many calls for service, so for our deputies to just go by and tell them to turn it down or turn the party off usually isn’t too much of a problem. But if they’re on another call for service it could take ½ an hour to an hour before the deputies get to your call. By then the noise may be gone. If you didn’t request a cite, they’re not going to knock on your door an hour afterwards because you’re probably asleep. Usually these are middle-of-the-night types of calls. Every once in a while, the deputy will call you ahead of time.

3. Call our non-emergency number and request to have the person cited. The deputy comes to your place first, takes your statement, and you sign a citation for disturbing the peace. The adverse party will have to go to court. It is a mandated court offense. That means you’ll need to go to court as well to provide evidence your peace was disturbed. That can be audio or video. That burden of proof is on you. We are just facilitating the citation. A police officer’s peace cannot be disturbed, but a private citizen’s peace can be. So your peace can be disturbed at any time.

So that’s the process. You call the nonemergency number… I’ll send all this to Peter. Your peace can be disturbed at any time. But I caution on that. Say you’ve got somebody next door who’s constantly revving their engine at noon, because they’re working on their motorcycle or their car, and they’ve got music blaring. It’s disturbing your peace. Even with your windows closed and basic ambient noise in your house, you’re frustrated with the noise that upsets you. There’s not a noise violation. It’s your peace being disturbed. NRS doesn’t delineate times.  I’ve directed our deputies when they do show up to document what they hear when they arrive. Sometimes by the time we get there, nothing’s going on. But obviously if they show up and there’s a raging party next door, they need to put that into their report in addition to the evidence you will provide in court.

So you’ll call the nonemergency number. I’ll send that to Peter. The deputies will come to your residence. They’ll fill out a statement. You’ll sign the citation. The burden of proof is yours. The citation is NRS 203.010 for a misdemeanor of disturbing the peace or breach of peace. They’ll be required to go to court – you go to state your case and that’s it.

It may take time for the AirBnBs to get that information. You shouldn’t be citing to get at AirBnBs. The citation is strictly for disturbance of your peace. This isn’t some “agenda” type of deal.

Sara’s got a particular case, which many of you may be in as well.  Sara has some weeks without a problem and some weeks with a problem. But understand you do have a course of action.

Kristina Hill

One of our neighboring STRs had a big party. It was noisy, but what really freaked us out was that they were flicking their lit cigarettes off the deck into pine needles. Can that be an added concern when they’re creating a fire hazard?

Nancy McGill

I’ll defer to Ryan if he’s still here. That falls under the Fire Codes if they’re doing acts that can cause fire. I don’t know what NRS ordinance there might be. But I can look into that. You should absolutely call us. We are just as concerned with fire danger. I don’t have to live here to be concerned with that. It is an absolutely pressing danger for us to have any fire in Incline Village. Those are high priorities for us, and they’ll absolutely involve the Fire Department who can go out and check the area. If you witness that, and there’s an ability for us to facilitate a citation on that, we will do that in coordination with the NLTFPD.  I believe something like that would fall into a misdemeanor, not committed in my presence, so I’d need a witness who could cite them for that. I have to look up what that is. I’ll write that down.

Kathie Julian – Incline Village Resident

I put a question in the chat box for the Sheriff’s department. What kind of record keeping do we have about the number of calls made about noise, the number of those calls answered by the sheriff, and the number cited—where the party who called agreed to cite. So that we as a community have a cumulative record of how these calls are stacking up and in part to see how they’re responded to by WCSO. As you said, you may be understaffed and you can’t get to these calls. We should still know how many times people have called to complain.

Nancy McGill

That’s information I can obtain for you and bring to the next Forum meeting.  If somebody is cited for it that is something that will definitely go into our weekly Facebook page —“IVCB Beat” information. We put that out on Thursdays.  That’s information that would be put into our pass downs.

Kathy Julian

But I’m also concerned about those calls that are made but aren’t answerable because your folks are too busy. I understand that – and those calls that are made just in complaint with no citations.

Nancy McGill

I can find those out. They’ll differ by the time of the year but I can do the last 30 days. By the end of the month I can get all of October’s collected and give you kind of an idea. They’re not beating down our doors with disturbance calls. We do get at least one disturbance call a night; getting 10 would be an oddity. We might get three calls for one house. But I can find that information. That’s not a problem.

Sara Schmitz

I want to thank Sergeant McGill because she spent time educating me on how to deal with my situation next door. She was very informative. I understand how the process works. If anyone wants to get my perspective, feel free to reach out to me. What she encouraged me to do was to stop being nice, and actually have people cited, so people could complain about the house on the websites ”you can’t party; it’s a downer.”  Then I’ll have less of those people renting next door to me. She helped me change my mindset on how to approach this. If people are upset about it, they need to be willing to have their name out there and be willing to cite. You need to make a video and have your proof that it was loud and it was disturbing your peace for an extended period of time.  

There’s one question I asked Sergeant McGill and don’t know if she’s had an opportunity to find the answer. One summer night my peace was disturbed because I had my windows open, and STR renters were out in the back yard all evening smoking a bong that completely filled my master bedroom with pot smoke. I wonder if that was something that was disturbing my peace. [Peter Todoroff – Did you inhale?] I was so upset. These were college students. My husband went over and said something to them like “take it inside,” and this woman came over and said, “You know college students need to relax. This pandemic is so stressful.” I thought, give me a break.  [Steve Dolan – You got hot boxed.] Is having my yard, garage, or house so filled with pot smoke that it bothers us disturbing my peace?  

Nancy McGill

I can make an interpretation. And the way you put it, it sounds like your peace was disturbed. You would definitely need to have law enforcement there to say, “yep they were legally smoking pot in the backyard. There were 10 people smoking outside. We told them to cease and desist and they went inside the house.” But that’s almost something that Judge Tiras would need to make an interpretation on. Somebody in the court would need to interpret that. It’s legal to smoke, but is it legal to—in essence—blow it in somebody’s face? It’s the same with music. It’s legal to listen to it, but not at such a volume that you disturb somebody. That sounds like something that needs to be interpreted.

Joe Farrell – Incline Village Resident

I’d like to add to Sara’s comments about citing people. It’s also important to file a complaint with the rental agency. I’ve done this with AirBnB, and it really made an impact on my neighbors. With AirBnB if you have 3 complaints, I think they ban you from renting for a year. So that’s an important thing to do regardless of the agency that’s renting it.

Nancy McGill

Joe I agree with you. The company next to Sara is managed by Turnkey. It’s advertised in front of the building. I provided Sara with 24/7 phone numbers that she can reach out to.Since being nice didn’t work, she’s started citing. I’m very hesitant about people going to talk to a renter, especially a short-term renter. You have no idea who these people are. If it’s a neighbor who lives next to you, fine, have a conversation and hopefully you don’t have the problem anymore. But STRs are a completely different style, and I don’t recommend you knock on their door and confront them, and possibly turn a simple request to turn down music into a hostile encounter. So call us whether you want to give a citation or just want to shut them down. We can do either.

John Crockett – Washoe County Librarian – Head Librarian

Early voting is going very smoothly here at the library, daily 9am to 7pm through next Friday October 30th. There’s rarely a wait time. They’re managing cleaning and all that stuff and it’s going real smooth. So come on by and vote. You can also just drop your completed ballot. They will expedite you past any line so you drop your ballot quickly.

On Halloween we have a spooky program. We had a scary-story writing contest for young people where they submitted some stories. One of our staff members will be reading those stories, and it will air at 7pm on Halloween.

Following early voting we still don’t have browsing in the branch, but we will start offering computers. So if you need to jump on a computer to print, scan, or fax, we’ll have them available in our meeting room. We’ll be wiping down the machines in between and limiting the number of people in the meeting room.

Reno Historic Preservation Society has another virtual program coming up Tuesday November 3rd. This is all about food in Washoe County—different specialty foods and restaurants and things like that over the years. You can access all our virtual programs from our website, and I will send Peter that information as well.

Peter Todoroff

Thanks John. And if there’s nothing else, I’d like to adjourn. Thanks every body we’ll see you in 2 weeks.

CHAT BOX:

Richard Miner, League to Save Incline Neighborhoods – email: raldenm@aol.com

09:31:59 From Joe Farrell: Are there 3-4 bullet point comments we should address in our Transportation Hub issue comments that are concise and to the point?  Thanks!

09:54:25 From Kathie Julian : Some questions for the Sheriff’s department:

09:55:38 From Kathie Julian : What hours are considered quiet hours in IV? Or is there any set hours?  Where can we see a weekly or monthly record of such calls and the addresses of the house creating the noise, and perhaps the name of the owner?

09:59:35 From D Davis : It’s not just STRs that create noise problems. There is a house in my neighborhood where the full-time, long-term residents have had a band playing in the driveway, complete with microphones and amplifiers. Even with all windows and doors closed, we get blessed with the “concert.”

09:59:51 From Sara Schmitz : The New York Times is expected to release their article on the problem of “party houses” in communities.  We will have 2 residents included in the article.  I will share when available.

10:00:23 From Washoe County Library : Pete, I have to join another meeting and will turn my camera off.  Early voting is going very smoothly here at the library with very little if any wait times.  It goes daily through next Friday, 9 am to 7 pm.

10:04:44 From Jim Nadeau : The City of Reno has a “social host” ordinance within their codes that specifically addresses party houses.

ALERT: The deadline is October 25 for giving your opinion of Tahoe Transportation District’s plans to transform the Old Incline Elementary School property into a bus hub to transport tourists to Sand Harbor. Although TTD has already purchased the property, we need to let TRPA know they should not provide a permit for this use, which will snarl traffic in Incline Village,  increase our parking problems, and usurp prime property that could eventually serve as a village center. 

Please send a short email today to: 

Michelle Glickert 

mglickert@trpa.org

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