Affordable housing development in South Lake Tahoe nears approval |

Affordable housing development in South Lake Tahoe nears approval

The city could be one step closer to building an affordable housing complex by the end of the week.

The city of South Lake Tahoe Housing and Economic Development Division is waiting for confirmation on a $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The grant is one of two needed to complete the project. The city’s housing division will go before City Council on Nov. 7 to request application for a $1 million grant from the California Home Program.

If all goes as planned, three acres of privately owned land along Highway 89 are slated for construction of a $2.7 million 19-unit, low-income, disabled housing complex, estimated to be between 7,000 to 8,000 square feet in size.

The city is working with the Tahoe Area Coordinating Council, a nonprofit organization that aids people with disabilities, and Accessible Space, a building contractor that specializes in disabled housing.

Tuesday night about 25 residents and business owners attended a meeting at City Council Chambers to learn more about the project and voice concerns.

While a handful of people spoke adamantly against the project, most of those in attendance were present to learn more about the project, said Patrick Conway, housing coordinator for the city of South Lake Tahoe Housing and Economic Development Division.

“Why do you have to build it there in the most beautiful, unique corridor in Emerald Bay and mow down trees,” said Steve Smaha on Wednesday, owner of Brother’s Place on Emerald Bay road.”

But those in charge of building the project say they need to find property suitable to their needs.

“One of the challenges with any development is finding affordable land with a small fee, option to purchase period of about one and a half to two years,” said Mike Ramos project coordinator for Accessible Space.

Although there is no development on the land, the project would not be a physical eyesore to the community, according to Conway

“The design is very consistent with what you would expect to see in a ski community as far as the exterior appearance,” he said.

A private developer could build a much larger structure and still comply with design restrictions, he added.

The city would execute a regulatory agreement with Accessible Space and the Tahoe Area Coordinating Council giving it regulatory power over the complex.

If for some reason the complex was not maintained properly, the city could recall funds from the California Home Grant, which would ultimately bankrupt the project.

“It is our big stick,” Conway said.

The proposed project on Emerald Bay Road near Tenth Street would accommodate independent living for disabled people 18 years old and older, who could be either mentally or physically disabled.

“The project is designed as independent living,” Conway said. “It is for someone who can function independently.”

Patrick LeCoq, owner of Dixon’s Restaurant and Brewery has concerns about negative effects the complex could have on the tourist economy.

“It’s going to hurt the neighborhood,” he said Wednesday.

The project will be a single floor structure, but how many buildings will be on the property is still to be determined, Conway said. Possible scenarios include one 19-unit building; or one 10-unit building and one nine-unit building; or three six-unit buildings.

The complex would consist of one- and two- bedroom units. Four of the units would be two bedrooms, and one of those would be for the building manager.

Construction is scheduled to begin by spring 2001.

Those living in one-bedroom apartments could not make more than $18,500 a year and for two-bedrooms the combined income could not exceed $21,150. Rents for single apartments would be between $200 and $300 and for two-bedrooms would be between $250 and $350.

The last project coordinated with the city and the Tahoe Area Council was the Tahoe Senior Plaza, a 45-unit low-income complex for people who are at least 62-years-old, located at 1103 Third St.

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