Whether popular Wednesday stand-up paddleboard races and Thursday concerts at Lakeview Commons could continue under proposed policies for the El Dorado Beach development has been called into question by event promoters.
Chris Brackett, owner of South Tahoe Standup Paddle and an organizer of the paddleboard races, and Rob Giustina, of On Course Events and the organizer of the Live at Lakeview concert series, both expressed concerns about the proposed regulations for Lakeview Commons' events during a Tuesday South Lake Tahoe City Council meeting.
The council did not vote on the proposed policies for the venue, with some council members saying they would like more public input on the rules, including from event promoters. The policies are expected to be back in front of the council March 19, when council members are also expected to discuss a contract for the beach's food concession.
Among the rules proposed Tuesday are a 2,000-person limit to events at Lakeview Commons, rental fees from $500 to $1,000 and restrictions on noise levels and when events can take place.
One of the major concerns for Giustina surrounded the closure of the east end of Lakeview Avenue during concerts.
City Manager Nancy Kerry said there would not be any road closures of Lakeview Avenue for the Live at Lakeview series this year, citing neighborhood concerns about the closure.
Closing the road is a safety measure for pedestrians going to and leaving the event, Giustina said. An open road creates public safety and liability concerns for both event promoters and the city because of the possibility of a vehicle hitting someone, Giustina said.
He suggested the road be closed for any event with 500 people or more. The concerts attracted between 600 and 1,200 people each during the summer.
"I personally will not produce an event down there with the road open," Giustina said.
The event organizer disputed Kerry's comments, saying he has heard support from neighborhood members for the road closures. Although the events have lost money, Giustina said they have been great for South Lake Tahoe.
"The bigger picture is we want to enhance the quality if life in Lake Tahoe," Giustina said.
Brackett said he felt that, overall, the city did a great job on the policies, but had concerns with the fees. He said he would need to seek sponsorships for the Wednesday races, as well as the nationally recognized Race the Lake of the Sky to continue.
Giustina said a $350 fee for events could be reasonable, but was concerned about the city requiring extra expenses on top of the permit fee.
Fees from rental of Lakeview Commons for events would be used to pay for onsite staff at the venue, as well as maintenance costs, which have exceeded what was anticipated, Kerry said. The proposed fees wouldn't cover all of the cost to the city related to events at the site, but they would come close, Kerry added.
In response to event permit cost concerns, Kerry pointed to a provision in the proposal that would allow the city to sponsor certain events.
Mayor Tom Davis said he has received more positive comments about Lakeview Commons than anything else he has been apart of on the council. The city should fine-tune the policies to make sure they don't impact the current business model, Davis said.
"I'm just trying to make sure we don't take a good thing and screw it up," Davis said.