A two-phase Stateline apartment-to-condominium conversion was approved by Douglas County Planning Board commissioners this week.
Apartment owner Kara Thiel of Feldman McLaughlin and Thiel, LLP, represented by attorney Lewis Feldman, applied for a subdivision map to begin converting its Lake Vista apartments to condominiums for first-time homebuyers. Feldman said that the condominiums would be for sale starting at $200,000.
Commissioner Don Miner said he applauded the applicant for trying to set up affordable housing in Stateline.
“I’ve lived there for 35 years and have observed TRPA (Tahoe Regional Planning Agency) give limited approval to affordable housing,” he said. “It’s because neighbors don’t want it next to them so they complain to TRPA.”
Miner said that he remembers “at least five” affordable housing requests coming before the board during his time on the commission and being denied.
“This is the first opportunity for an applicant to make some money and they’ve had to put up with a lot to do it,” he said.
Current apartment tenants of the Lake Vista Apartments opposed the owner’s request during public comment.
Tenant John Durst said that if the commissioners approved the request he and other disabled or disabled and elderly tenants would be displaced.
“This area is uniquely well-suited to affordable housing,” he said. “They’ve already torn down a good chunk of (rental) housing.”
Disabled tenants like himself rely on their apartment complex’s proximity to their places of employment like the casinos, he said.
“I’m a blogger and I am able to cover stories on foot from where I live,” he said.
Commissioner Kevin Servatius asked Feldman about the “human side.”
“Will the people currently living in the facility be able to stay?”
“We have 10 or 11 current renters that will be allowed to continue to rent,” he said. “No one will be displaced.”
He said that there will be two phases to the conversion.
Lake Vista I has about 30 units and will be the first to be converted, and tenants can live in Lake Vista II where the conversion will not take place until 2017 at the earliest, Feldman said.