A proposal for a new redevelopment zone concentrated in the city’s “Y” area has been released to the public for 90 days of review and could go to the City Council for final approval as soon as March.
The new redevelopment Project Area No. 2 would encompass 1,300 acres, mostly at the “Y” at the west end of town, but also stretching down Highway 50 to Herbert Avenue.
The City Council last week released the formal plan and a background report for 90 days of public review. Officials expect to release a related environmental document for 45 days of review in about three weeks.
The goal of redevelopment is to eliminate blight in the designated area.
“Having an agency in place actually attracts investors,” City Manager David Jinkens told the City Council last week.
A redevelopment agency raises money for community improvements through tax-increment financing. As improvements are made to the area, property values increase, translating into an increase in property tax.
Under California redevelopment law, redevelopment agencies are allowed to keep most of that property tax increase, with a smaller percentage going to the state or other agencies.
Project Area No. 2 is projected to raise $178 million over the next 45 years.
Improvements could range from an overhaul of the Lukins water system to street repairs, sidewalks and bike lanes. Funds could be used to help small businesses, or assist property owners in upgrading their buildings.
An estimated $53 million would go toward “quality housing projects.”
The funds raised by redevelopment would fall short of the estimated $282 million needed to eliminate blight completely in the project area. An overhaul to the Lukins water system would cost about $18 million. The City Council would prioritize how the redevelopment funds are spent.
Betty “B” Gorman, president of the Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce, spoke in support of the plan as a way to revitalize the region.
“This is an important piece of the puzzle,” Gorman said.
City Councilwoman Kathay Lovell said the comment she hears from some members of the public is “why wouldn’t you?” in reference to keeping the increased property tax revenue to use for local improvements.
Lovell said the public also seems reassured by the fact that eminent domain would not be used in Project Area 2 – unlike the city’s first redevelopment project area at Stateline. That project area, adopted in 1988, includes the site of the stalled convention center project.
A resolution passed by the council this summer says that if a future council wished to use eminent domain in Project Area 2, it would have to get voter approval.
The resolution also includes provisions requested by Councilman Bruce Grego pertaining to larger development projects in the area.
“For any private project in excess of $100,000, the Redevelopment Agency shall require advance submission of adequate payment and performance bonds made in favor of the Redevelopment Agency for the project to ensure completion,” the resolution states. “The Redevelopment Agency may not waive payment and performance bonds without the unanimous vote of the agency board members.”
In voting last week to release the redevelopment proposal for review, Grego said he is interested in hearing what the public has to say about the plan.
Councilman Bill Crawford voted against moving forward with the plan, citing concerns about the debt that would be created. Money paid for debt service is likely money that is going out of town, he said.
“I happen to believe in organic growth when it comes to commercial (development),” Crawford said.
Councilman Hal Cole abstained from voting because he owns property in or near the proposed project area.
For more information on the proposed redevelopment Project Area No. 2, see the Central Tahoe Community Improvement Plan Web site, http://ctcip.org.
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