Chateau project decision delayed |

Chateau project decision delayed

Jack Barnwell

Plans for the next stage of the Chateau at the Village hit a delay after South Lake Tahoe Planning Commission agreed to a three-week hiatus while city staff refined the proposal.

Despite the delay, the commission went forward with a public hearing, allowing staff, the project’s attorney and residents to air their grievances.

According to Development Services Director Shawna Brekke-Read, requested delay of the planning commission’s blessing of the project will allow staff to clean up conditions of approval.

The current Chateau phase awaiting approval includes nearly a three-story building containing 19,500 square feet of mixed commercial space and 32 condo units at the northeast corner of Highway 50 and Friday Avenue.

The current phase will complete construction along Highway 50, which began in 2014.

Owens Realty Mortgage, Inc. of Walnut Creek is the parent company behind the project, with its subsidiary Tahoe Stateline Ventures, LLC acting as local point

Lew Feldman, the attorney representing the project, said if project approval is granted, construction would begin in August and last 18 months.

Feldman said recent improvements to Highway 50 spurred Owens Realty to complete that section of the Chateau.

The condos included in the phase would be fully owned but would have a hotel-like atmosphere. A pool and other resident amenities will be included.

A second part would tentatively include underground parking, but won’t be considered until after the current proposal is complete.

A few members of the public expressed concerns about whether the project would affect the city’s transient occupancy taxes and if it would affect road closures.

Elias Small, co-owner of Mellow Mountain Hostel asked if Cedar Avenue, which will include a portion of the Chateau project, would be closed, and whether water utilities would be shut off.

Rick Edwards, asked if the current Chateau commercial space has already been leased, why were there four vacant spaces.

Feldman said three have already been leased and would be occupied by a high-end photo gallery, a yogurt store, and a quality packaged gourmet food store.

A fourth space is available as possible restaurant opportunity.

Water wouldn’t be shut off, except for the occasional disruptions that come with hooking up new connections.

Feldman said he didn’t expect Cedar Avenue to be shut down at any time during construction, but if it were, a contractor would notify all affected businesses well in advance.

While the hotel condos will be fully owned by people who purchase them, it remains uncertain whether they would be subject to South Lake Tahoe’s vacation rental ordinance.

“This is in some respects very similar to Lakeland Village,” Feldman said, which has a large amenity-based community with rental participation contributing to the city’s TOT revenue.

Feldman agreed with city staff’s recommendation for a three-week delay to help clean up the project documents.

Some conditions of approval no longer applied, such as a $6 million pedestrian overpass across Highway 50. The addition of a pedestrian crosswalk at Friday Avenue has since addressed safety issues, and Heavenly Village’s construction never provided a “landing spot” for such a feature.

Some other items, including property mergers, street abandonments, and affected right-of-ways need to be cleared up and addressed.

Feldman added that any pedestrian overpass must comply with current American with Disability Act requirements, which would increase the $6 million price tag.

A three-week delay would determine which party is responsible for what part of the project and give clarity for future phases, which might suit Owens Realty’s needs.

That’s why the project has been done in small bites.

“It is not in the development business per se, so it wants to preserve its options to bring in other developers to accelerate the build out and possibly take over the project,” Feldman said.

Commissioners agreed, continuing the hearing to April 30 at 9 a.m. at a location to be determined. Ultimate approval rests with the city council.

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