News you need to be in the know: Short-term rentals, ownership change at White Horse Inn, Paradise Ranch appeals, Thanksgiving weather

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STR ordinance continued until 2020

At the Tuesday, Nov. 19, board meeting, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors referred the draft Short Term Rentals Ordinance back to staff for more revisions. Seven more members of the public (owners) testified including two hosts of farm-stay properties and two Three Rivers property owners. All asked the supervisors to reconsider the current draft ordinance and remove some restrictions, waive or reduce fees for inspection, or just table the ordinance altogether. news you need

Each of the supervisors spoke briefly on their take on the ordinance. Supervisor Pete Vander Poel, District 2 (Tulare), admitted there aren’t many short term rentals in Tulare but agreed that the ordinance is too restrictive. Supervisor Eddie Valero  District 4 (Dinuba/Woodlake), also said that the ordinance is over-restrictive but ignoring the impact is not an option.

“What we are looking at is a housing challenge,” Valero said. news you need

Supervisor Townsend, District 5 (Porterville), asked: “Do we need more code enforcement if the ordinance is passed?”

Supervisor Kuyler Crocker, District 1 (Three Rivers) and board chairman, summarized:

“Short term vacation rental policy is complex… Our Board directed staff to standardize Good Neighbor policies and provide a one-time exemption to existing registered short-term vacation rental owners. We recognize the value of property rights, which cut both ways, as a short-term vacation rental owner and as a neighbor.”

What it means: No ordinance will be enacted until at least 2020. Owners already registered with the tax collector and paying Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) will be exempt from the one-time fee but not the inspection. news you need

White Horse Inn has a new owner

After hosting their final wedding on Saturday, November 16, Gary and Jeanne White officially retired and transferred ownership of the White Horse Inn to Yvo Kwee of Marina Del Rey. Gary White has owned and operated the White Horse Inn since 1966, and until the sale, it was the longest continually operating business by a single owner in Three Rivers.

Following one final wedding on Saturday, Nov. 16, Gary and Jeanne White are officially retired and have transferred the White Horse Inn to a new owner — Yvo Kwee of Marina del Rey. It was fitting that the last wedding: Shawn Fox and Allie Fry were the Whites’ last hurrah. 

“Shawn has worked at the White Horse for the past 10 years, and Allie for the last five,” Jeanne said. “Allie will continue on to help manage the new establishment as Kwee will be an absentee owner.”

Jeanne said Kwee is familiar with Three Rivers. Kwee owns a number of local vacation rentals. news you need

Gary White purchased the former Moro Rock Tavern in February 1966. Three months later, Gary reopened as the White Horse Inn. 

Jeanne (Brown) began working at the White Horse Inn in 1973 at age 15; three years later Jeanne and Gary married. In 1984, the White Horse Inn hosted its first wedding. It continued operating as a restaurant until 1998. For the last 20 years, the property has been used exclusively for weddings and special events. 

What it means: The longest continuously operating business in Three Rivers under one owner has been sold. The new owner is another example of how the proliferation of short term rentals and the local tourism economy is driving investors to develop local businesses to serve new clientele. 

Sunshine Paradise Ranch decision to be appealed

The Sunshine Paradise Ranch is located 9.5 miles up South Fork (in photo). The special use permit caps the numbers of commercial use visitors at 15 and prohibits the use of two homes, on the upper portion of the four-acre property, for use as vacation rentals.

Both sides, for and against the proposed project, have appealed the approval of a maximum 15 persons that would be permitted at the four-acre property located 9.5 miles up South Fork Drive in Three Rivers. Mike Washam, associate director of Tulare County’s Resource Management Agency, said the appeal of a special use permit by both sides is unprecedented.

The applicant in the project is seeking to use the two houses as short-term vacation rentals when the owners are not in residence, which was denied by the Planning Commission. That would allow another 18 to 24 people on the property in addition to the maximum of 15 allowed under the special use permit that was approved.

Opponents argued that the guest ranch would violate CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) and would be contrary to the policies outlined in the County’s own planning documents. A coalition of South Fork residents testified that South Fork Drive is inadequate to handle more traffic and the fire danger is extreme.

What it means: Appeals of the Paradise Ranch Special Use Permit are scheduled to be heard at the December 17 meeting of the Board of Supervisors. A protracted legal battle is likely.

Thanksgiving weather

These moisture-laden clouds skirted the Kaweah canyon on Thursday, Nov. 21, left over from the first significant precipitation of the 2019-2020 season. More wet and cold weather is in the forecast for Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 28)

While the storm that passed through Kaweah Country on Wednesday, Nov. 20, brought a 20-degree drop in the daytime temperature, it contained little moisture. The higher elevations above 9,000 feet in the nearby mountains received up to a foot of snow. In Three Rivers, rainfall amounts ranged from .10 to .25 inches depending on location.

There is more precipitation in the Thanksgiving forecast starting Wednesday, Nov. 27, and continuing through Friday, Nov. 29. On Thanksgiving Day, high temperatures are predicted to only reach 50 — that’s cold considering on November 19 high temps were in the upper 70s.

What it means: The first significant precipitation of the season on November 20 was the third latest on record since records have been kept (1880s). The door is open for the storm tract to dig farther south now and bring cold storms out of the Gulf of Alaska. Whether Three Rivers ends up dry or wet this season remains to be seen.  Temperatures will average below normal for the next 15 days with highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s.



2 thoughts on “News you need to be in the know: Short-term rentals, ownership change at White Horse Inn, Paradise Ranch appeals, Thanksgiving weather

  • November 22, 2019 at 7:29 am

    Great, so the White Horse Inn was purchased by people that own and operate several vacation rentals.

    Let’s just put a gate at the Horse Creek Bridge, we can have a gated community of vacation rentals ~ without having any bothersome STR rules and regs.
    The gateway to the Sequoias.

  • November 25, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    On first read, I was impressed with the Draft Short Term Rentals Ordinance. It succinctly dealt with many of my concerns. Yes Supervisor Townsend, enhanced code enforcement will be a must, thus inspection fees.

    Yes Supervisor Crocker, short term vacation rentals can pose somewhat complex issues and perhaps unseen future consequences to our unincorporated village. Just as any commercial business placement in residential areas might present conflict to “Good Neighbor Policies.” In a way, a Short Term Vacation Rental Permit is a request and approval of a zoning variance, is it not?

    The vacation rental standards should be set, and kept high for River City. It’s been the “Wild, Wild West” in Three Rivers for far too long and cash flush out of town investors know this all too well.


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