Across the Lake: Marina expansion moving forward
As support for a proposed three-story parking structure tied to the expansion of Tahoe City’s marina falls away, alternative plans are moving ahead ” garage not included.
As part of a master plan approved in 2005, work on the Tahoe City Marina expansion could resume this spring. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Placer County’s Planning Commission approved the environmental report for the marina’s master plan two years ago. The documents outline plans for 81 new boat slips and a 728 foot public pier.
In order to accommodate more boat slips the owners of the marina, Tahoe Yacht Harbor LLC, are required to build 29 parking spots, according to Dennis Oliver, TRPA spokesman.
The Placer County Redevelopment Agency originally proposed a three-story parking garage and continued to promote the structure until late February, when the decision was made by Placer officials to not include the structure on the TRPA’s agenda for March, according to Jim LoBue, deputy director of the redevelopment agency.
Yet principles at the Tahoe Yacht Harbor LLC wished to move ahead with their expansion and took the first step with an unanimous approval from the bi-state agency’s Advisory Planning Commission last Wednesday. The expansion received its second regulatory agency approval on the same day as the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board unanimously approved an exemption to a waste discharge prohibition contained in the water quality control plan.
“We have these prohibitions that do not allow you to put anything in the lake, but we do have exemption criteria for public health and safety, environmental restoration and public recreation,” said Lahontan’s Lauri Kemper.
With enhanced public access to Lake Tahoe included in the plan, Kemper said, the marina falls under the latter criteria.
A new public pier, enhanced access to a lakeside bike path from State Highway 28 and the desire by the marina owners to mitigate conflicts between boat launching and bike trail activity would all improve public access, according to the TRPA’s Oliver.
Initiating the first steps of the expansion will take a few more regulatory huddles, according to Jim Phelan, general manager of Tahoe City Marina. He said the first phase of the expansion has already begun with a new harbor master building and sewer pump station relocation. But he was reluctant to predict when work might start on either the addition of parking spaces or marina expansion.
“Assuming we get our permits we will begin the construction of the marina expansion,” he said.
The marina owners still need approval from the TRPA’s governing board on March 26, along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the California Department of Fish and Game and the California State Lands Commission, according to Kemper. Also, although the approved underwater digging is “maintenance dredging” it can only be done between October and May, Kemper said ” weather permitting.
As for the three-story garage, if the second TRPA approval goes through, “the parking structure, if not completely dead, it will be close to dead,” said Steve Brown, Placer County’s redevelopment program coordinator.
He said several hundred thousand dollars had already been spent on planning for the garage.
However, TRPA officials paint a more optimistic picture about the future of the garage.
“This does not preclude a parking garage later,” Oliver said, indicating that at the Advisory Planning Commission meeting last week the owners of the boat marina were open to the idea of a garage in the future.