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April 2, 2014
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Guest Column: Incline Village – bedroom community or tourist mecca?

The recent changes to Ordinance 7 align perfectly with IVGID’s efforts to transform our community from a low key “bedroom” community to a congested tourist destination.

Look at what’s being proposed at Diamond Peak: a zipline and alpine coaster. At a recent board meeting, former Trustee Chuck Weinberger expressed the opinion that these two ventures would not be profitable and they were not something the community wanted.

But the changes to Ordinance 7 will be just as damaging.

When four of the five IVGID trustees voted in favor of revisions which will provide unlimited numbers of tourists and the visitors the same “privileges” formerly reserved for residents/parcel owners and their relatives, I felt betrayed.

I had alerted the board that the revisions to Ordinance 7 eliminating the “family tree” restrictions would result in having no limit to the number of picture passes that could be issued, and that owners would be able to purchase as many “additional” picture passes (currently priced at $166 with beach access) as they wished for anyone in the world — apparently only one trustee actually read my email. Trustee Bill Devine recognized that the revisions needed more study and voted against staff’s proposal.

Now I will recognize even fewer faces on our so-called “deed-restricted” beaches. Will there be any locals at Diamond Peak? Will the rec center have to add a new wing (at property owner’s expense) to accommodate increased demand (assuredly just during high season)?

Will the local golfers be able to get an early morning tee time, or have to compete with the many tourists who will now find some property owner to purchase a picture pass for them? And will revenues decline and IVGID’s $7 million/year losses increase because now no one has to pay full price?

Although the ordinance states passes cannot be sold, if IVGID had problems proving pass holders weren’t relatives, how in the world will they ever prove a pass was sold?

Okay, so maybe we needed more golfers to keep the courses alive. But if that’s all we wanted, why not just lower the green fees and challenge staff to come up with ways to lower operating costs?

With the family tree restrictions, there are currently only about 100 of these “additional” picture passes on file. But with the newly revised Ordinance 7, real estate agents who own just one “beach access” property here can buy rec passes for clients (even if the client’s transaction is not in Incline Village, or in Nevada, for that matter), and business owners can buy passes for their employees as incentives or employee perks (no matter where the business is located or where the employee chooses to stay while they use our amenities at the “resident” price).

Golfers, especially the “snowbirds,” can buy picture passes for all of their buddies they spend the winter with, so when they come to Tahoe for a week they will get the resident rate for golf rounds plus free beach access.

On the surface, this might sound like a benefit to property owners who don’t have family members or tenants who would use five passes, but when you consider the negative consequences, this is really a slap in the face of the homeowners who thought that paying the rec fee gave them some special “privileges” not available to others. If we wanted to help the residents/owners, we could have limited dropping the family tree requirement for just the five pass maximum per parcel.

So why did four of the five trustees vote to pass the proposed revision? Perhaps it’s just the habit they have of approving whatever staff puts before them; more likely it’s the mentality that wants to transform our community into a tourist mecca.

Judy Miller is an Incline Village resident and the wife of IVGID trustee candidate Aaron Katz.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Apr 2, 2014 06:36PM Published Apr 2, 2014 09:36AM Copyright 2014 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.