Margaret Moran

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November 7, 2012
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Official: Highway 28 work on Kings Beach three-lane project likely to begin next year

KINGS BEACH, Calif. - There's a "good possibility" construction on Highway 28 for the Kings Beach three-lane project will get under way next year, a Placer County official said.

Utility relocation efforts on the highway are already in progress, said Peter Kraatz, deputy director of Placer County Department of Public Works, for the Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project, a multi-phase venture that will resize Highway 28 in an effort to enhance safety and upgrade the aesthetics of the area.

Approximately $10 million in funding for the $48-million project still needs to be raised, Kraatz said, along with securing several right-of-ways.

"I know that sounds like a lot of money to most people, and it is, but I think we're at a place where we've acquired close to $40 million for the project and it's not that we don't have a good track record for acquiring the additional funding that is needed," he said.

Regardless if additional project funds can be secured by next year, Kraatz said the highway portion will likely start in 2013 with funding that has already been secured, all of which has come from federal, state and local grants.

"If we are able to break ground in 2013, it's definitely a two-year project, so 2013-2014 depending on how the schedule is held and how progress is made," he said. "It could slip into a three-year project. It's hard to predict (a timeline) right now."

Plans are moving forward for the consideration of forming a Benefit Assessment District, in which property owners within the project's boundaries are being asked if they approve contributing to the $166,000 annual fee associated with the upkeep of streetscape aesthetics.

Those 294 parcel owners would be assessed based on zoning of their property, the property's state of development and whether it fronts the streetscape improvements, Kraatz said, meaning properties will have different assessments.

"It's a sensitive thing because it does increase the expense of (their) property," he said.

Funds collected by the assessment district would mostly go toward covering snow removal, and to a lesser extent: trash removal; power washing of sidewalks; reserve funds for damage, repair or replacement of improvements; and administration fees, Kraatz said.

The bill for each parcel owner may vary year to year, he added, based on the expense of snow removal and the property's state of development, but the overall assessment fee of $166,000 can never increase.

On Oct. 23, the Placer County Board of Supervisors authorized ballots to be issued to the parcel owners, who should receive them this month. They have until January 22 to decide whether they approve of the assessment, Kraatz said, at which time the ballots will be counted at a public hearing. Ballots will be weighted, giving property owners with a higher annual assessment a stronger vote.

"Based on the ballot results, (the board of supervisors will) consider levying assessments once the streetscape improvements are installed," he said.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Nov 7, 2012 05:35PM Published Nov 7, 2012 05:34PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.