My own personal experience with the new STR codes 




how the County managed my account -

--prior and during COVID--

(this page)

To Whom It May Concern, 

Thank you for asking and also allowing me the opportunity to share my STR and COVID-19 experience as a property owner and a concerned STR patron.  

In addition I have some concerns to address with the County that over lap the new STR codes, COVID119 , Seasonal Emergency   Issues & Responses. (

Example is : my residential loop street right off the HWY (minutes from 2 fire-stations- so why the lag) and if our emergency and county efforts are as such than how can we be diligent in emergencies more rural?   My issues encompass: STR's, full time residence : all categories:  elderly and house caught fire and did fire prevention- thank goodness , the house between mine and the house that caught fire does not do any fire &/or house maintenance (timber box) & a constant problem house with long term renters who where caught illegally STR profiting & possibly still continuing unethical practices (see below). 

I appreciate the forum to do so as I have experienced some grievances and this is a nice cathartic way to express and share my real concerns.  I also want to thank the ones who deserve credit (see below).   


Just prior to the COIVD-19 news frenzy I was very focused on the season at hand.   

It snowed over Thanksgiving and not again until recently.   We have had a very dry winter start.   I enjoyed not having to shovel, however I knew we needed water.  

I hoped to get to see my dad (retired from US military, moved to Hawaii) and my mom (who has been in the mid-west and was going to fly over once I got situated with dad in Hawaii) this late winter season. I had planned all year to take February and March off to do so.   

To my dismay, Placer County gave property owners new code ordinances for short term (vacation) rentals: (Noticed January 17 to be completed by March 31st).   I found the County letter of Permit Update Compliance to be demanding. This was priceless time I should have been with my family. STR put me at health risk as the end of January and into March were not the right months to push someone like me to be outside working on fire codes, and unbeknownst, but to add to further insult next came the COVID concern!  The STR changes are proven to be justified to me as they are most expensive for me, an individual (and more expensive than any other Placer County Individual business license fee and renewal).   ( see my email exchange between):   


From: J Swedelius [
Sent: Sunday, January 19, 2020 11:05 PM 
To: STR <>; REV Transient Occupancy Tax <> 
Subject: Fw: TAX PAYER'S REPLY TO --- Re: Transient Occupancy Tax Ordinance Update - continued 


From: Doug Jastrow <
Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2020 8:37 AM 
To: J Swedelius <> 
Subject: RE: TAX PAYER'S REPLY TO --- Re: Transient Occupancy Tax Ordinance Update - continued...} 



I couldn't believe it.   We all had to readjust our next couple of weeks.  I was just shy of depression because of all the fire turmoil in Australia; so I took it all to heart.  We all understand the value of that. This postponement news was also disappointing to my family, whom I planned to be visiting. I no longer could make the dates because the County wants: subcontractor check list, fire codes, more fees for more permits, etc... all by March 31st.  I have always been in compliance and good standing. 


My family and I also understood the overall requests were for the most part for the right reasons: fire prevention is paramount and if my community who is renting STR also has to comply then that makes me happy that our town was being more stream lined with a focus on updated codes regarding fire prevention.   

Fire prevention wise, that does make sense and it has been a dry winter, so summer seems fragile.  I am glad though that I got busy with spring and summer outside chores and it does feel better knowing that a lot of us in the community are hunkering down for fire prevention.  Cal Fire is very serious and using Australia in everything they want to get their point across with quickly.    


My head cannot take much more of the government (& Smokey the bear) and pressing my fear factor as the way to communicate their point,. I took a day off from the news and it was the best thing for my headaches.  I was exhausted the last few weeks and did not know how long it would take me because of weather on top of all of my original to do's and itinerary.    

So, I got angry with the County for the exorbitant amount of work this caused:  physical in the cold (risking my health) and expensive at a time of off season for me, very demanding with their verbiage in official letters and time frame! But I put my best foot forward and did the work, knowing that definitely from an environmental stand point I did agree that new code ordinances are a good idea here in the Tahoe and surrounding areas.   




Next is from an economical point of view 


It was quite the tedious,(time consuming  (time is $), very frustrating process and also very demanding of a deadline. I was grateful we had a break from weather (no snow in the region) just so I would not have that chore on top of finishing the newest in criteria from the STR updates.  I submitted my application and just received my Certificate from the County on March 9th 2020.   

These pictures represent a few examples of how much work that was required in a short amount of time during the winter and we achieved that. 


Next (only after passing the County's approval) is the approval of the Fire Department.  My request for inspection is in with the Fire Department.   

All fees are paid (I have stated I find to be expensive for me, an individual who was already compliant $347.00) = to the County of Placer which includes the Fire Department's fees.   


The Fire Dept was already swamped due to the new code update inquiries and properties that need to be checked. Now that I have submitted my application to them they will issue your inspection date, but not get back to me with until date April 1st.   So basically it’s a sit and wait game which is very frustrating because I do not know if I can use any time productively and go see my family!!! 

Needless to say that really messed up the last few months (to see my family) and a tad into the future because I still (to the date of this writing) don't know the Fire Department’s date of our property inspection.   


After my frustration started to subside from that while I was achieving the last of the requirements, I also recognized that this may weed out some of the competition.  This is a good thing too. There were a lot of properties not doing things on the up & up.  Tahoe was getting pushed to the max on its infrastructure for the last decade +.    {As I have seen firsthand (as well as my family & classmates IHS '91). 

I am 47 years old and lived on Park Lane for 28 years (owned for 20) (I believe I know this street) and the concerns surrounding the Crystal Bay Fire-lookout and more in our local area (I grew up on Jennifer St above the fire-station & we were one of four families evacuated because of  that avalanche in 1986).  .  

I am one of the very few property owners that was raised here (all school systems locally, purchased my home before the main market boom 20 years ago so I wouldn't be priced out of my own home town, have a  different working  career independent of STR, volunteer with wild horse causes in the neighboring mountain ranges, and am an extreme sports person}.  I purchased my property and rented it before there were online DIY rental companies, so I have been in 'the know' for a while.  I was due to raise my rates and get in the going rate scale (as also professionally suggested for my property). Yay, to all of that! 



In more  current day:

Then on March 26th, 2020, after I got my copy of the Placer County STR Permit, and have a copy of paid fees; I got a letter NOTICE OF PERMIT REQUIREMENT , stating that their records indicate that you have not received my STR requirement information and I have not obtained a STR Permit.  That added a few weeks of extra confusion and worry!  I decided to call the Placer County STR number they have on the notice because, I personally have been in-front of my computer too much these days and it should be a simple issue to look into under regular circumstances.  So, I decided to experiment and see if the County lines were up and ready to take a basic call such as mine.  To further dismay, they were not; instead I got an earful with a message regarding all information that is additionally added because of the COVID-19. Most of which was that the County has extended the deadline and additional 2 months. That is double the time of the original update requirements postings.  This appalled me!   Next there was not a live operator, I needed to leave a message. The next day I did not hear back, so I tried the County number again.  This time, I followed one of many lengthy automated prompts, which in the end did not work the two more times I tried:  I got thru to a man who told me from a forwarded line that I had the wrong extension.  He would then try to forward me to a Johann (sp?) and as the message recorder got half way thru her voice greeting the line went cold.  So that's when I tried again, the same forwarded county man said he would now try to connect me to a Dean..., but that did not go thru either.  I gave up, drafted my email; this chasing around took all day, so decided to reread and send the next day.  Literally as I was about to push the send button a representative did call me back.  I started from the beginning:    The new STR process is demanding, expensive and time consuming; however I understand how important it is to be united and for Fire Prevention especially so in the end I understand and am grateful we will be united and up to date.  We discussed many of my basic questions about the Permit application, Fire Department scheduling, and possible issuance of a credit of any kind and extend my future expiration?! However, that was not the priority, just needed to be addressed though.   


I want to stay current and have all current information with the STR's, so I was not interested in cancelling my paperwork.   


And I also want proper communication to be able to stay informed and  address my issues (currently grievances) as in the  accompanying email,  the way the STR and COVID-19 issues are effecting and concerning me.   

For me specifically THE KEY REASON I am not with my family is due to the Placer County STR Code ordinance update requirements!!! VERY UPSETTING!!!!!!!  And expensive!!!  (and especially during this COVID time, I could use the $; I definitely feel it is not fair that the County is collecting & I'm not able to earn even on % at the bank if it was still in my account.)  Govenment at it's best I've been told.  


From my perspective I was held up here because of Placer County’s demands that the updated STR code ordinances meet compliance by a certain date. I had to stay home to accomplish that rather than being able to be with my family! So, I am alone here!!!! My dad is on an island!!! My mom (thank goodness, is with her siblings in the midwest!!!! My brother is in Mexico!!!




The two good things I thought the new codes were doing as mentioned above, unfortunately the County has now equally shot down the good things for me.


I am appalled that the County extended the code deadline and claimed it was for COVID-19!

Property owners were given notice on January 17, 2020, prior to the COVID-19 issue! The deadline was scheduled for the end of March.! If you could not comply by then you should not have allowed to maintain STR status! It is very insulting to someone like me, who complied, on time and gave the ultimate sacrifice in doing so, just to comply prior to the COVID thing! So now, the County has actually totally disappointed me by using the COVID -19 an excuse for extension by giving my competition twice as much time to comply as I had.


To compound this is the fact that the County is negligent in thinking clearly. As far as I can tell it is all focused on greed. The county wants its revenue and does not realize it does not, nor never has had the adequate infrastructure to maintain even its high population of "locals" let alone its excess tourism.

Please remember we have no cleaning supplies currently and the price has already gone up, so how much more do we need to worry about cleaning up after others?  These are simple basics!  So we are definitely not ready for the masses!





I think the Counties new STR codes are expensive, destructive, ineffective and outdated and not planning for the excessive tourism.

;At this time, I do not have faith that the County is equipped for anything more than the normal basic routine, certainly not pandemic problems on top of natural disaster issues and god forbid any other lifesaving crisis!

Regarding the high cost in general or the STR new Permit process as I know them to be in comparison to what other Placer County business licenses and renewals cost, the STR fees and compliance has been frustrating, time consuming. On top of that, the County didn't even have it together enough to recognize my application, payment and permit was finished and issued in a timely manner .

And then I have a Notice from the County with more concerns I have to address because of the County's process! 

(Thank goodness that got handled this week. ) 

So basically, I hope you take my concerns seriously.   


Next they couldn't even get it together to answer the phones adequately or have my paperwork corrected over the course several months, regarding the new code changes and they were not even equipped to handle my one homeowner STR Permit question that I posed weeks after the COVID stay home order which gave them enough time to have been organized as "OFFICIALS"


In conclusion, I am not happy with the county extending its STR Permits for more properties, and to allow them to have time to pay their fees.

To the date of this writing I feel the new STR codes negatively effected my life's schedule and are still doing so:  this is about the time of year (end of May) that I would have been coming home from being with my family (so I missed that due to the new STR codes) I would have been able to do the fire prevention work in more appropriate months to be working outside, especially since I still have not heard from the Fire Department. on my scheduled ate for their inspection.   




The Counties new STR codes are expensive, demanding on my schedule and physical self.  I complied with the fire prevention and even arbored trees in February to make sure I was within the Counties deadline.  That actually negatively effected my health and my laborers as; that was a push and not the right season (for demands to be placed on us!)  But we pushed and succeeded.  However that mean nothing now. 

The Counties STR deadlines forced my plans and those of my family to be altered and I because of the new STR code requirements deadlines I was able to be with my family, got stuck here alone without my family and they are stuck away from me because the stay home was announced only few short days after I successfully complied to all of the Counties list of criteria.  Just shortly after the National Stay home, during these last last stress filled months I have experienced two deaths in my family (and we are alone while grieving directly related to the need for me to have been in Tahoe to get the new STR codes finished in a timely manner).  

The good thing though was possibly the new STR codes may have possibly weeded out much of the competition that could not achieve the goal. 

The STR code change announcement was given before the COVID issue and people should have been compliant by the announcement that the County was extending the new code requirement (100% the equal time) to get Permits.  

Therefore reversing all my positives and going against the concept to keep population down.  Helping the natural environment (even fire prevention).  Simply appears to be all about gaining the revenue.  I do not agree with the County to extend the dates for people to attain an STR permit!  I am totally disgusted with the  Counties decision in that!!!  Demanding and disappointing is the sum for the STR 'new codes and  extensions in our area (as mentioned above). 

I am so disappointed; Iif what I am reading is correct in the most recent email on May 22, 2020  I got from the county stating they are still uncertain (of all)....however they are excepting more fees for permits , extending the deadline to July 31, 2020. 

I am just dumbfounded that this is the excuse and thought that more STR here is the good decision! 

Further for the county to justify the reason is COVID, when the original updated STR requirements January 17, 2020 (do be completed by the end of March) were given prior and had nothing to do with COVID!  Seems like politics and government at it's best.

 Such a sad thing to learn!!!  


Some of my questions for the County are:

Are long term rentals (LTR) allowed so many visitors or have a maximum capacity for the size of the property? 

In general? 

Also at this COVID time?

Short term rentals are required to not host visitors.  STR are required to disclose their guest/booking information and abide by the local requirements: number of guests, cars, where cars are parked, noise, fire prevention, pay extra to the county for all the STR homeowner's property use, etc.. 

What are the rules and what is the consequence for long term rentals?  

Are they fair in regards to the STR requirements?


So, what is my experience just during and after COVID-19 with the STR you ask?   


I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE MOUNTAINS WHEN THEY ARE MELLOW!!!!   Mountains are meant to be Mellow!

(If they stay this way!

My next concern was the County's duty to protect our lands and waterways and to not promote them especially in masses when we could very easily be damaging our best resource in AMERICA. He kindly asked me if I personally wanted to cancel out of renting and I too am in a conundrum.  I do know it is my choice (once the national lifts are set) to rent if I want to or not.  I also have a choice who I can rent to, my patrons are non-smokers, usually in real need of R&R and am happy to understand how the locals live;  unlike hotels, casino's, construction and other big business like that (an oxymoron for the environment and the real mountain person).  Yes, it is my strong opinion that a true mountain person does not need nor want these types of industries here.   



COVID- 19 has halted many positives as many are aware but it also has given us a chance at doing things better.:

THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME IN THIS MATTER TO ALLOW ME THE LIBERTY OF MY RIGHT FREE SPEECH, while addressing the Placer County submission for comments of how the issues surrounding the COVID-19 has effected the Placer County STR property owners. In hopes that my concerns are earnestly addressed, I am debating sharing all this information with a variety of other community members, advisers close and in faraway places, long standing clients which include many professionals, some on the front line or in political positions.



Jessica Swedelius


Life Long Tahoe Resident:

IHS class'91 (resident of Washoe County since 1980)

Placer County Property Owner Since 2000

Owner/ Aethetician -

be with your family during COVID ad.JPG
Ads like this are a painful reminder of how
the new Placer Co STR codes effected me, my family.