Affordable housing and zoning on city’agenda |

Affordable housing and zoning on city’agenda

Robert Stern

Affordable housing for the disabled on Emerald Bay Road is back in the running as a potential city project.

A Public Workshop will be held Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the City Council Chambers at 1900 Lake Tahoe Blvd. to discuss zoning changes that could allow construction of an affordable housing project.

The proposed 19-unit project between 10th and 13th streets was scheduled for a rezoning workshop at the end of last year, but was held up because of an uncertain commitment by Accessible Space Inc., one of the developers.

Accessible Space has since purchased the three acres in the Gardner Mountain area to be used for construction of the $2.7 million housing project in conjunction with the Tahoe Area Coordinating Council for the Disabled.

“(Accessible Space) is definitely in my mind committed to this site, at this time,” said Patrick Conway, housing and economic development coordinator for the city of South Lake Tahoe.

Public hearings on the project have spawned considerable debate. Some have argued the project would ruin the scenic corridor while others say the community has a definite need for the project.

The zoning change, however, would not limit the property to an affordable housing project. The proposed change, however, would allow for such a project.

“Last fall a new water line was placed on Tenth Street that could allow developers to meet fire flow requirements,” said Lisa O’Daly, associate city planner. She said because of this change, the rezoning issue is “ripe for discussion.”

The city had previously been denied $1.7 million in federal funding, but Conway said the funds are site specific. Since the property was not properly zoned, it was overlooked for funding. The city resubmitted an application for these funds with the hope that the property would be rezoned in time to be considered for the grant. A decision is expected in the spring, Conway said.

“It all really comes down to the issue of zoning in my mind,” Conway said. “If the zoning can be changed to accommodate this type of project, it will put us in a very good position to get the funds.”

The city has also applied for $1 million in state funding, which is not site specific. The city should find out in February if the state grant receives approval.

The City Council and Planning Commission will host the workshop, but ultimately any zoning changes would need to be approved by the City Council and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. However, four public hearings would need to precede such action and have not been scheduled as of yet.

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