City Council approves $15k to Clean up the Lake, discusses housing

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Lake Tahoe will be getting outside help on pandemic management after City Council on Tuesday evening approved a one-year contract with Ongoing Pandemic Assessment Team Specialists.

OPATS is a third-party risk assessor company that is owned and operated by medical professionals. They will help the city stay compliant with new and changing mandates, offer vaccine education, work site risk analysis and staff testing.

The city’s risk manager, Becky Penado, said the time spent staying up-to-date on mandates and compliance has been a “burden to city staff.” So the contract with OPATS will allow staff to shift their focus from COVID-19 back to their regular duties.

In addition, OPATS offers vaccine education to city staff, and testing which can limit the hours staff are out because of the virus.

“We would like to increase our vaccination rate without forcing anyone to do that,” Penado said.

The contract is up to $150,000, depending on how much work OPATS does for the city.

The council also approved a $15,000 donation to Clean Up the Lake. CUTL is a nonprofit which is currently working on a 72-mile underwater clean-up of Lake Tahoe’s shoreline.

The organization asked the city for a $7,500 donation to sponsor the miles of shoreline within city limits. Councilman Cody Bass said this was one of his favorite projects happening around the lake and asked council to up the ante by doubling the requested donation.

“It’s a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of work they’re doing,” Bass said.

The higher donation gets the city into the gold level sponsorship, which includes its name on a trash sculpture the organization will be building.

Mayor pro tem Devin Middlebrook said he wants the sculpture to be on city property.

The donation was unanimously approved.

During the meeting, the council discussed three different housing projects.

The first was approval of a property transfer of the property located at 141 Riverside Ave. to St. Joseph Community Land Trust for $1 for an affordable housing project.

The project will consist of the development of three single family homes with two or three bedrooms between about 1,372 and 1,500 square feet. They will be sold to moderate-income buyers, earning no more than 120% of the area’s median Income.

St. Joseph hopes to break ground in May 2022.

Council also discussed the disposition of the South Tahoe Redevelopment Agency owned properties at 3900 and 3908 Lake Tahoe Boulevard. The properties were purchased in 1998 but the Dissolution Acts of 2011 requires the agency to dispose of the property.

The city would like to see those properties sold to a developer to be used for affordable housing but council will be discussing other possible uses.

Moving forward with the project requires a title report, property appraisal and an environmental assessment. Council approved $20,000 to be used for those requirements.

The third project could potentially be a 79-unit affordable housing project named Alpine Village on Ski Run Boulevard. The city had previously entered into an agreement for a housing project at the location which fell apart.

According to the staff report, “City staff was contacted approximately four weeks ago by Alpine Corporation, who self-identified as a prospective buyer currently in escrow to buy the property.”

They’ve asked for up to $5 million from the city for the project.

Lew Feldman, who has experience building in South Lake Tahoe, is representing Alpine Corporation. Council expressed their confidence in Feldman and voted to move forward with negotiations on the project.

The negotiation period will last 60 days.

Finally, the council approved its 2022 meeting schedule.

Meetings will be held the first and third Tuesday in January, February, March, May, June, September and November; the first Tuesday in April and October, the second Tuesday in December; the second and fourth Tuesday in August; and includes an additional Strategic Planning Advance the fifth Tuesday in March.

The first meeting of every month will begin at 9 a.m. If there are two meetings in a month, the second meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m.; except the budget workshop on Aug. 23, which will begin at 9 a.m.

The next meeting will be held at 9 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 7.

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