Documented by Dani Huerta

Summary —  What you need to know

  • A proposed ordinance and associated regulatory program regarding short-term rentals was reintroduced. The item on the agenda concerned rentals in Three Rivers, but was amended to be countywide. Many residents of Three Rivers spoke both for and against short-term rentals. Vander Poel voted against approval of the ordinance being reconsidered.
  • A zone change from agriculture to rural residential for a subdivision outside Visalia was approved. The owner said the change was necessary because of a lack of water for farmland.
  • A public forum on AB 2972, also known as the Truth Act, was conducted. In 2022 there were 261 requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), six inmates released to ICE and 255 requests not transferred to ICE. Of the 255 not released to ICE, 139 requests were not recognized by county Sheriff’s Office officials. Of the 116 recognized, 91 were released back to the public and 25 were still in custody as of Jan. 4, 2022.

Follow-up questions

  • Why has data regarding short-term rentals in Three Rivers only been collected recently, when the ordinance was originally introduced in 2019?
  • Will a future short-term rental ordinance affect the county in different ways than in Three Rivers?

Board of Supervisors

  • Larry Micari – vice chair, District One
  • Pete Vander Poel III, District Two
  • Amy Shuklian, District Three
  • Eddie Valero, District Four
  • Dennis Townsend – chair, District Five
  • Jason T. Britt, County Administrative Officer
  • Jennifer M. Flores, County Counsel
  • Melinda Benton, chief clerk

The Scene

The Tulare County Board of Supervisors meeting was held simultaneously both in person and live streamed via YouTube at 9 a.m. on Oct. 24, 2023. The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence.


  • Board of Supervisors matters
    • Micari
      • Last week he had a meeting with some department heads, and attended Evening into the Oaks at the Kaweah Oaks Preserve, Itliong Day celebration in Poplar, Tulare County Sheriff’s Office barn burner, Porterville Exchange Club’s Noche de Fiesta, East Kaweah Groundwater Sustainability Agency meeting and the Lindsay public safety badge pinning.
      • He congratulated Joel Church for being named Cattleman of the Year and Jody Fuller for Cattlewoman of the Year.
    • Valero
      • Last week he completed his three-year term with the California Volunteers Commission, he pointed out that Comcast invested $100,000 in scholarships to community colleges in the area, he attended a realignment 101 workshop and met with the state water board commissioner, 
      • Upcoming is the Woodlake-Kiwanis dinner, Tulare County Excellence in Education awards breakfast, Public Arts Selection Committee, Maddie Institute talk, Yosemite Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council Board meeting, Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) all-staff meeting, First5 open house, Open Gate Ministries dinner, Registrar of Voters open house, Ivanhoe Public Library activities, Central Valley Latino Leadership Academy meeting, Three Rivers Union School fall Halloween festival, and he will be giving the oath of office at the Alta District Historical Society meeting.
    • Shuklian
      • Last week was a Homeless Task Force meeting, Kaweah Oaks Preserve Night Under the Stars and the Sheriff’s Office barn burner.
      • Upcoming is a Downtown Visalia Property Owners Association meeting, Tulare County Economic Development Corp. meeting, Art Selection Committee meeting, Registrar of Voters open house and the Downtown Rotary Speakeasy.
    • Vander Poel
      • Upcoming is the Tulare County Office of Education awards, Tulare County Employees Retirement Association meeting, International Ag Center Board meeting, Allensworth school classroom groundbreaking, Greater Kaweah Groundwater Sustainability Agency workshop, First5 open house, Registrar of Voters open house and the Allensworth fall festival. 
    • Townsend
      • Last week was the Tulare County Council of Child Youth Development Legislative event, National Association of Counties meeting, Springville Apple Festival, Porterville Exchange Club’s Noche de Fiesta, agenda review and an HHSA check-in.
      • Upcoming are the Tulare County Office of Education awards, Reach Air Medical Services ribbon-cutting, HHSA Lights, Camera, Action event, First5 open house and Porterville veterans’ homecoming queen pageant.
  • (Approved unanimously) Consent Calendar (Items 5-19)
    • Some of the approved items included the approval of a capital asset purchase of three flex-wing grooming mowers (item 8), a memorandum of understanding with the Kings Tulare Homeless Alliance (item 14) and the capital asset purchase for an automated toxicology analyzer for the coroner’s office (item 19).
  • There were no board matter requests
  • (Option A approved countywide, Vander Poel voted no) Receive a presentation from the Resource Management Agency (RMA) on the impacts of short-term rentals in Three Rivers. Direct RMA staff from the following options:
    • Option A: Bring back a proposed ordinance and associated regulatory program that would include a potential moratorium on additional short-term rentals in Three Rivers until the program is adopted.
    • Option B: Take no action
    • Mike Washam, RMA associate director, introduced the item. The county spoke with Airbnb representatives to discuss rental regulation toolkit policy. A short-term rental (STR) is less than 30 days and requires a transient occupancy tax (TOT) of 10%. Bed and breakfasts are treated differently.
      • Staff proposed an STR ordinance in 2019, which was not adopted. 
      • There are 294 registered STRs in Three Rivers.
      • The county received $3.5 million from all the unincorporated areas from TOT during the 2022/23 fiscal year.
      • It is estimated that 22% of housing units in Three Rivers are STR.
      • School population decreased from 138 in 2011 to 95 currently.
      • Three Rivers’ population decreased from 2,182 (2010) to 2,053 (2020).
      • An ordinance was not heard; it was reintroduced to receive direction from the board and hear from the public. It was to bring back a proposed ordinance (or to take no action), not to adopt the ordinance.
    • Micari asked if Washam had any calls for service (law enforcement, fire, etc.). Washam said they did a few years ago and looked into overcharging the septic system. They have heard of one failed septic system, but he is not sure it was from an STR.
    • Public comments
      • Walter van Eaton Bailey, William Joshua Adams, Kair Daniska, Norma Nevarez, Clarence Conover, Eric Siss and Ken Greenspan spoke against allowing STRs in Three Rivers. Some concerns are that owners are not residents of Three Rivers, they reduce the number of available homes for people looking to buy permanent housing, high housing prices, closing businesses, environmental sustainability and an increase in bears in trash cans.
        • They support option B.
      • Dameon Malek and Kristie Malek, owners of an STR in Three Rivers, asked if people are aware of actual statistics affecting Three Rivers or if they are relying on feelings. They support option B so staff can collect recent data.
        • Stacey Penchaca asked for an environmental report and stricter regulations. 
      • Kair Daniska, Jaime London, James Sickman, Marle Pleyte, Nicky French, Laurie Schwaller, Karin Mitha, Alena Mestaz, Erin Leedy, Yvette Haworth, Sheila Stone, Peter Mestaz and George Tomay spoke in support of an ordinance. Some concerns are closing businesses, closing schools, the need for affordable housing and accurate STR data.
        •  They support option A.
      • Adrian Herrera spoke in support of STRs. He believes STRs should be managed responsibly.
      • Cara Brown said the town’s problems are not due to STRs.
      • Joyce Foley said she is not against STRs and spoke about her rental repair experience.
      • Sam Logan asked for affordable housing for people who work in parks services.
      • Scott Sherwood is against the moratorium. He does not support option A or B. He believes most STRs are run irresponsibly.
      • Susan Shaw said small communities must show how many long term residents live there to get grants from the state for upgrading water systems.
      • Emails were passed out to the board, with 46 in support and 23 opposed. 20 were general suggestions.
    • Vander Poel asked how TOT funds are spent. County administrative officer Jason Britt said it is combined with general county revenue that is then used to pay for county services. Vander Poel said decreasing school enrollment is a countywide issue, not just in Three Rivers. He is in support of option B.
    • Shuklian asked if there are any buildings for STRs. Washam said there are rules that are part of other ordinances such as noise and fire restrictions. Since late 2020, there have been 21 code enforcement complaints specifically for STRs. She is not in favor of a moratorium but is in favor of some guidelines. She said it is the responsibility of the parks service to provide housing.
    • Valero is in support of option A. He believes there needs to be direction on this issue. He said in 2019 he chose to let things be and see how they played out.
    • Micari said there are not many statistics on STRs, which makes it hard to make a reasonable decision. He said violations must be called in for a change to be made.
    • Townsend is not in favor of a moratorium or an ordinance for Three Rivers. He is open to an ordinance for the county if one is introduced at a later date.
    • Shuklian proposed approving option A but to make it countywide and no moratorium.
      • The motion was approved 5-1, Vander Poel voting no.
      • Vander Poel said he voted against because there is not enough information.
      • Micari agreed that they need more facts.
  • (Approved unanimously) Public hearing: Request from the RMA to adopt a mitigated negative declaration pertaining to a zone change and tentative subdivision map No. TSM 22-002, consistent with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the CEQA guidelines. Adopt the findings of approval and approve the zone change. Adopt the findings of approval and approve the tentative subdivision map. Adopt an ordinance amending the Tulare County Zoning Ordinance to change the zone district from the AE-20 (Exclusive Agriculture – 20 Acre Minimum) and R-A-100 (Rural Residential 100,000 Square Foot Minimum) to R-A-43 (Rural Residential – 43,000 Square Foot Minimum) for parcels on property located on the west side of Road 132, north of St Johns River in Visalia. Find that this ordinance by statute can only be passed after notice and a public hearing, so it is exempt from the usual requirements that an ordinance be read in full and adopted over two regular meetings. Direct the clerk of the board to publish the full text of the adopted ordinance and amended zoning map.
    • Aaron Bock, RMA assistant director, explained the item.There were six notices mailed. The project is composed of 35 lots over 67 acres. 
    • Micari commented that this change is a result of a lack of water. The property owner said he feels he has no choice because there is not enough water for his farmland.
  • Public forum: Conduct a public forum. Receive a report from the County Administrative Officer regarding the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office interaction and communication with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2022. Receive public comment.
    • Patrick Burks, board representative two for the Tulare County Board of Supervisors, gave the presentation. AB 2972, also known as the Truth Act, requires law enforcement agencies to provide a written consent form to an individual in custody of the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE records need to be public record. 
    • In 2022 there were 16,785 bookings in the county. Six people were transferred to ICE. There were 261 requests from ICE, six inmates released to ICE and 255 requests not transferred to ICE.
      • Of the 255 not released to ICE, 139 requests were not recognized by the county Sheriff’s Office. Of the 116 recognized, 91 were released back to the public and 25 were still in custody as of Jan. 4, 2022.

Public comment

  • Anita Ortiz introduced Sabrina Bustamonte, the new Office of Emergency Services manager, who has about 19 years of experience in emergency services.
  • David Karplus, president of Three Rivers Union School District Board of Education, commented about short-term rentals. He proposed to “allocate the transient occupancy tax revenue from the short-term rentals in our community.” He asked for some of the revenue to benefit the schools

     The board will meet next on Oct. 31.

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