‘A win-win’: City moves forward to incorporate Heavenly’s Cal lodge

Entrance to the California Lodge at Heavenly Ski Resort.
Ashleigh Goodwin / Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The South Lake Tahoe City Council, on Tuesday June 6, gave go-ahead to pursue annexing, or bringing into the city limits, parcels that are currently unincorporated, such as Heavenly Mountain Resort’s California Lodge. 

After a “fruitful” conversation council unanimously voted to move forward on two of the five annexation scenarios presented by the consulting agency, DTA. 

In September 2022, in accordance with the strategic plan, a fiscal impact analysis was completed to assess the cost and impact of providing safety and public works operations for the unincorporated parcels, according to City Manager Joe Irvin. 

The main focus of the discussion was the Heavenly annexation scenario which encompasses the California base lodge area of Heavenly.

Minimal increase to the city’s fire and public works expenditures are expected by annexing the lodge and the city is projected to generate $47,009 in annual fiscal surplus, according to DTA’s presentation.

Heavenly’s California Lodge already receives public works and safety support from the city of South Lake Tahoe.
Ashleigh Goodwin Tahoe Daily Tribune

“We generate the revenue to pay for the services to add to what’s happening currently,” Councilmember John Friedrich said and added the annexation of this parcel would be a win-win. “We have similar clean energy goals, I think there would be a lot of alignment.” 

The second scenario that gained approval from council was the Cleanup Annexation Scenario, which would annex the area generally comprising the Tahoe Valley Campground and Upper Truckee Marsh. 

The clean up parcels are outliers that would be reformed using common sense according to Friedrich. 

Another parcel, pointed out by councilmember Scott Robbins, would be Barbara Avenue which is surrounded on three sides by city limits yet “oddly” not incorporated. 

El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office would be dispatched to the Cal Lodge and Barbara Avenue according to South Lake Tahoe Chief of Police David Stevenson, but SLTPD would respond to assist. 

“Maybe some out there would think ‘Oh the city is just trying to take over,’ but it’s to see if we would be responsible stewards of tax dollars to provide service,” Friedrich said, adding the other parcels just don’t make sense. 

Mayor Pro Tem Cody Bass said, “I really believe we should focus on the Heavenly parcels, our focus simplified one annexation/one parcel and the real needs that need to be met. I feel it is the best move for the city and look at other options in the future.”

“We are evaluating the proposed annexation of Heavenly’s California Base Area into the city of South Lake Tahoe. While this remains in early stages of conversation, we look forward to discussing the city’s proposal with them further in the near future,” said Cole Zimmerman, Heavenly communications manager.

The other three options would be costly to the city, according to DTAs analysis. 

Golden Bear, Black Bart, Cold Creek, and Montgomery Estates Annexation Scenario: Encompasses the Cleanup Annexation Scenario and the additional annexation area generally comprising the residential neighborhoods commonly known as Golden Bear, Black Bart, Cold Creek, and Montgomery Estates.

Meyers Annexation Scenario: Includes the formerly mentioned annexation scenarios and the additional annexation area generally comprising the residential neighborhood commonly known as Meyers. The Basin Annexation Scenario: Includes the Meyers Annexation Scenario and the additional annexation area generally comprising the territory commonly referred to as the Tahoe Basin.

The other options would need much more outreach and strategy, according to Irvin. 

Irvin said, “This is the first time the city has taken on any fiscal impact analysis to answer this question on the root cause: What south shore is, what kind of services does our community want and how do we identify. In my opinion, the fiscal analysis is the most important part so we don’t waste a bunch of time and get people confused on whether this is a reality or not.”

Mayor Cristi Creegan added, “The affected parcels have three opportunities to comment: there’s a hearing, a protest hearing and a vote. We are absolutely not doing something that our community won’t say yes or no on.” 

As put by one local, Alan Masters, the decision will “make Heavenly step up and pay their fair share, give back to the city and make it right for the residents in the area.”

“They are currently paying zero share,” Robbins said.

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