Affordable housing project draws fire at Incline Village
INCLINE VILLAGE – A proposed affordable housing block approved by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency last month has left a few neighboring property owners here less than thrilled.
The project, between 60 and 80 higher-priced homes to be built on the old College Park property and four “affordable living” duplexes on a parcel behind the Union 76 gas station, is proposed by Round Hill-based Falcon Capital and will now go on to the county to be studied.
But Incline resident Chris Talbot said that the project is all wrong for the area.
“I’m not against affordable housing,” Talbot said. “I’m against housing in an area that’s already crammed with commercial establishments and traffic.”
Talbot added the traffic problem has been so bad in the area that there were 21 cars towed by the sheriff’s department in the past nine months for illegal parking in the area. Adding 16 more parking spaces to the area will create more problems, he said.
Resident Dan Schwartz said the issue is a political one for TRPA.
“The Governing Board is made up of wanna-be politicians, and for politicians, affordable housing is an election issue,” Schwartz said. “I knew what would happen. Hopefully it will be dealt with more fairly on the county level.”
TRPA Communications Director Julie Regan said the project met all the items on the agency’s environmental checklist.
“Whether this is a suitable location for the project is not a question for TRPA,” Regan said. “It met all the criteria for the agency to approve it and, while it may not be the perfect project for that area, we were satisfied, and now it’s up to the county to decide on traffic impacts and any other aspects of the project.”
Meeting Wednesday in Kings Beach, Governing Board member Stuart Yount said the agency is only responsible for environmental impacts regarding the project and not its location. He suggested that Schwartz and Talbot take the issue to Washoe County. The county’s planner, Eva Krauss, could not be reached for comment.
Regan acknowledged there is a need for affordable housing in Incline Village. She said the project was first presented to the agency in the summer of 2003.
“This was not a project that had been rushed through, and I know that the agency planner in charge of the project kept open communication with the neighboring property owners,” she said.
Schwartz said TRPA’s ruling hurt the people it is trying to facilitate.
“The houses in that area already fall into the ‘affordable’ category and this is just hurting a neighborhood by cramming more houses into the area,” Schwartz said. “This is not going to be safe for the children who might live in those duplexes and will have to walk through the alley behind the gas station to get to their front doors.”