City, county reach agreement on redevelopment
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The Lake Tahoe Airport was removed from a newly-created redevelopment area this week as part of a lawsuit-avoiding agreement between South Lake Tahoe, the South Tahoe Redevelopment Agency and El Dorado County.
County supervisors threatened to sue the city and redevelopment agency last month over Redevelopment Project Area No. 2 documents they felt incorrectly applied the definition of blight.
The redevelopment area is centered around the “Y” and stretches east to Herbert Avenue along Lake Tahoe Boulevard.
Blight findings are required to create a redevelopment area under California law. The areas allow redevelopment agencies to divert a portion of property tax revenue increases over a 45-year period to projects like infrastructure improvement and business assistance programs.
The county has estimated it could lose as much as $17 million in property taxes during the life of the redevelopment area, while city officials contend property tax-dependent agencies will lose nothing due to the growth of tax revenue within the redevelopment area.
County supervisors agreed not to pursue litigation over the redevelopment area on Monday in exchange for the removal of the airport and seven industrial properties along Julie Lane from the redevelopment area. County officials have used the airport and industrial parcels as examples of areas they feel do not fit the definition of blight in previous letters to the South Lake Tahoe City Council.
The agreement also requires a commitment by the redevelopment agency to spend $45 million over the life of the project area for joint projects consistent with the Tahoe Valley Community Plan and Community Redevelopment Law.
“Joint Projects shall include infrastructure improvements (water, sewer, and drainage), parking, transportation, parks and recreation improvements, building code compliance and retrofitting, business assistance programs, business façade improvement programs, new business development programs, the creation of a geo-business/tech park, and quality workforce housing in the Tahoe Valley Community Plan,” according to the agreement.
Also under the agreement, publicly-funded improvements to the outdated Lukins Brothers Water Company system will be owned by South Tahoe Public Utility District, not a private water company.
Gayle Erbe-Hamlin, the County’s Chief Administrative Officer, expressed concern that public money would be used to benefit the private water system in a May 4 letter to the city council.
The council voted 3 to 2 during a special closed session meeting on Friday to approve the agreement.
Mayor Kathay Lovell, Councilman Jerry Birdwell and Councilman Bruce Grego approved execution of the agreement, according to an e-mail from City Clerk Susan Alessi. Councilman Bill Crawford and Hal Cole did not attend Friday’s meeting, Alessi said.
El Dorado County Supervisors unanimously approved the agreement during a special meeting on Monday, said Supervisor Norma Santiago on Tuesday.
Santiago said she was happy with the agreement and said she is looking forward to working with the city on the joint projects.
Lovell also said she was pleased with the agreement Tuesday.
“I think it was a great way to show how public entities can come together for the good of the public,” Lovell said.
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