Feds may purchase lakefront property | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Feds may purchase lakefront property

Andrew Pridgen

Emma Garrard / Tribune News Service / The owner a 3.5-acre parcel near Crystal Bay are considering selling the lakefront property to the Bureau of Land Management instead of developing it. Critics say the land is undevelopable anyway.

After receiving a special request from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, a local property owner may soon receive some $27 million from Bureau of Land Management for his 3.5-acre lakefront parcel between Crystal Towers condominiums and other private lakefront property.

While the steeply graded parcel with no beach access has been approved by Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to be split into three “buildable” lots, funds from the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act may be used to acquire the quarter-mile stretch bordering Highway 28.

If acquired by the U.S. Forest Service with the use of SNPLMA funds the parcel “would be the biggest stretch of public access to the lake between Kings Beach and Lake Tahoe State Park,” said Washoe County Manager Katy Singlaub.

The parcel’s owner, local developer Dale Denio, also owns a home adjacent to the property. Denio originally planned to build three “estate” homes and perform a remodel on his current residence, said Glen Williams of Minden-based Terra Firma Associates, the consulting firm that’s representing Denio in any land transaction.

“John Singlaub requested that Denio go through SNPLMA first before he goes forward with the development,” Williams said. “Acquiring the parcel is really critical for the TRPA and forest service to set a precedent. When you have an opportunity to protect the land – lakefront land – how can you say no to a project like that?”

Williams noted some outcry of public concern that the land may not be “buildable” in the first place.

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“(The acquisition) would protect us from building what?” said Incline resident Chuck Otto. “After walking the area it just doesn’t appear to be practical to build on the parcel. It seems like it may be cost-prohibitive to do so.”

Williams noted the property received an 825 Individual Parcel Evaluation System score from TRPA; he said it takes a score of 325 or higher to build. He also admitted the property’s potential shortcomings.

“Is the property steep? Yes it is steep,” Williams said. “Is the property (currently developed) next door even steeper? Yes it is.”

Among the reasons for potential federal acquisition of the parcel include giving the forest service access to land on either side of Highway 28 through that quarter-mile stretch, he said.

“This would give (the Forest Service) the opportunity to address the erosion problem,” Williams said.

Williams also noted a potential for forest service and county partnerships to create either a look-out point, or a stairway to the lakeshore for public access. The project has the support of The League to Save Lake Tahoe, the Sierra Club and Washoe County, Williams noted.

Appraisals for the property are based on a fair-market value, and are “rigorously” reviewed to meet federal standards Wlliams explained.

SNPLMA funds for the Denio parcel are expected to be appropriated by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton in November.

In order to acquire the Denio property, Incline Lake and a number of small acquisitions, land improvement and fire-prevention projects, the proposal requests a $187 million lump sum this year, the remainder of $300 million guaranteed to Tahoe since the SNPLMA was enacted in 1998.

This is the sixth round of expenditures under the act.

Public comment is being accepted by the Bureau of Land Management through Sept. 28 at http://www.blm.com.

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