City considers eminent domain to build Linear Park |

City considers eminent domain to build Linear Park

Michael Schneider

Who: South Lake Tahoe City Council

When: Friday, 4 p.m.

Where: Council Chambers, 1900 Lake Tahoe Boulevard

The South Lake Tahoe City Council will likely authorize the city attorney to use eminent domain to acquire parts of 18 Tahoe Meadows properties.

A special council meeting has been called for Friday, at which time the city’s legal staff will recommend the council give City Attorney Catherine DiCamillo the power to invoke eminent domain on the Tahoe Meadows properties.

The properties, which have 33 named owners in the city’s staff report, stand in the way of the planned Linear Park and bike trail redevelopment project.

According to Janet McDougall, the city’s legal analyst, the vast majority, if not all, of the property owners will settle with the city rather than forcing eminent domain.

“In order to preserve the city’s position and to ensure that the project can proceed as quickly as possible, staff is recommending the council adopt the proposed resolutions of necessity,” McDougall said.

She said, in order for the city to use eminent domain, it must show the public interest and necessity require the project and the acquisition of the properties in question are necessary for the project.

Of the 18 properties, only five property owners were listed in the Lake Tahoe phone directory.

Messages for one went unreturned, one refused to comment, and three did comment.

One property owner, who asked that his name not be used, said he didn’t have a problem with what the city was doing. He said he will deal with the city, but has not yet reached one.

The daughter of Bernice G. Mills, another Meadows property owner, said her mother would likely settle with the city. She said they were waiting for an offer from the city to arrive in the mail.

Peter Anderson said he didn’t agree with the use of eminent domain.

“It seems the motel side (of U.S. Highway 50) would be more appropriate for a bike trail,” he said. “It already has an impermeable surface.”

Anderson said he will fight the city in court, but won’t appear the eminent domain hearing Friday.

Construction on the park is scheduled to begin in September.

The council will also approve an agreement between the city and the California Tahoe Conservancy to accept a conservancy grant of $748,000 to construct the bike trail.

The grant will pay for the entire project, which is to be constructed in two phases.

The “fall” phase will complete construction of a new fence and removal of the old fence along the highway. In the spring, the path will be installed, complete with lighting, irrigation and landscaping.

Although the construction of the park is funded by the conservancy, the acquisition of the land is the responsibility of the South Lake Tahoe Redevelopment Agency bond proceeds, according to Redevelopment Manager Jaye Von Klug.

She said maintenance costs, such as snow and litter removal, will be paid by the agency.

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