County denies Cal Neva appeal
June 17, 2007
North Lake Tahoe Bonanza
A Crystal Bay family’s appeal of a Washoe County decision to green-light new construction at the Cal Neva Resort was denied Wednesday by county commissioners.
The project, a $60 million renovation of the historic stateline resort into individually owned units which owners can choose to be rented back to the general public was approved by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in April. Though it’s still pending approval from Placer County on the California side, Cal Neva officials hope to begin grading and utility work on the Nevada side this summer.
Even though the renovation would decrease the total square footage on the Cal Neva property, the Eadington family took issue with the building plans as well as the expeditious nature of plans’ approval.
“Nearly all of our neighbors whom I have spoken with express their opposition to the Cal Neva project and their feeling of disenfranchisement due to lack of actual notice and an opportunity to be heard,” said Crystal Bay resident George Eadington. “The mere concept that this is touted as a remodel is repugnant to any rational observation of the facts.”
Residents, he said, are concerned that the new lodge-style buildings slated to be built where the resort’s current dilapidated chalets now stand, will create a setting “far, far worse, entailing the overcrowding of an environmentally sensitive and remarkable area and the destruction of a truly wonderful residential, lakeside neighborhood.”
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Other neighbors don’t see it that way.
“We completely disagree,” said Crystal Bay resident Phil Gilanfarr. “We live at 20 Cal Neva Drive. We’re surrounded by the Cal Neva, two of my parcels look at the Cal Neva. I totally disagree that we didn’t have time, for many years there’s been presentations and design and presentation.
“The Cal Neva is in extreme desperate need to be developed, out of respect for the developer, time is money. You never know with a developer, they could walk away and for another 10 years we could be looking at what we’re looking at now.”
Washoe County Commissioners this week agreed with Gilanfarr’s approach, noting that the Eadington’s appeal was unfounded.
“The board denied the appeal on several specific points, but basically they found the appeal points weren’t on target,” said Washoe County Planning Director Adrian Freund. “And really, our jurisdiction is pretty limited. What we were looking at is a tentative map, the vehicle that allows us to approve developers to turn the Cal Neva from hotel to condo.”
The TRPA, as described by Freund, is doing the “heavy lifting” for the project and officials this week reiterated why the decision was made to allow the developer to go forward in an expeditious manner.
“There was no EIS required for the project,” said TRPA community liaison Jeff Cowen. “That reduces the window for comment time. That said, we’re always working hard trying to get channels of communication open. This was a reduction on land coverage, therefore a reduction in impact – the board felt this was a responsible project.”
Plans for Crystal Bay
As Cal Neva renovations continue, the rest of Crystal Bay is also slated for a facelift. In May, a new ownership group of current casino owners, Incline developer Vince Scott and Intero Real Estate Services, announced a preliminary for the stateline casino corridor’s renovation.
Funds to design a plan to put Crystal Bay utilities underground were approved by county commissioners later in the month, seemingly sealing the fate of the corridor as the newest North Shore locale to receive a complete facelift.
Thus far, county and TRPA officials have only seen preliminary plans for such redevelopment work.
“I’ve only seen very general concept sketches and that was months ago,” county planning director Freund said. “All future plans would be subject to code – which would go through the planning process and then to the county commissioners. I can’t comment specifically until we have applications.
“Again, it will be a split jurisdiction issue between us and TRPA. Uses, coverage, number of accommodation units and commercial floor space is TRPA’s bailiwick.”
County community relations director Kathy Carter said the Crystal Bay redevelopment project which includes the Cal Neva is an example of following the community redevelopment plan for the area.
“The TRPA has blessed that plan,” she said. “And, frankly, they have much more authority than we do. But from the county’s perspective, there’s a very thorough public process and several opportunities when we ask for citizen input. We certainly believe here more input is better than less.”