City discusses possible future development with ’56-acres’ agreement, events center
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Discussions last week during an 11-hour city council meeting could lead to big changes in South Lake Tahoe.
City Manager Frank Rush Jr., whose last meeting in the position was on Tuesday, Jan. 14, presented a project he’s spent the last year working on with El Dorado County.
The “56-Acres” agreement would give the city sole authority over the 56 acres in South Lake Tahoe that includes the county library, campgrounds and recreation center. Property that El Dorado County owns.
In exchange for the control, the county would collect 50% of the net campground operations which would be about $200,000 to $250,000 annually and would allow the county to keep control of the library.
Part of the city’s plans would include a new swimming pool, recreation center, senior center and government buildings, allowing city officials to be located within a more central location in the city.
El Dorado County voted unanimously at their Jan. 14 supervisors meeting to support the agreement. The city council also voted unanimously for the agreement.
Rush hoped Harrison Ave. and these new proposed buildings could act as the “Downtown” for South Lake Tahoe.
During the meeting, the city voted to form a housing subcommittee. Council members Tamara Wallace, Devin Middlebrook and Brooke Laine all wanted to be on the subcommittee and they settled the matter with a game of rock, paper, scissors. Middlebrook won.
The council also approved a first reading of a shared mobility regulation. This was the fourth time the proposed regulations were brought to board.
South Lake City Police had a good council meeting, with the council approving a police station renovation project and giving Chief Brian Uhler permission to research the purchase of body-worn cameras.
While there were a lot of positive discussions at the meeting, a majority of the discussion was overshadowed by the four hour cell tower appeal hearing that the city denied.
The meeting started with recognition for six new city employees and one employee who has worked for the city for 20 years.
Lew Feldman, a local attorney, then gave a presentation to the council on the proposed Tahoe South Events Center.
If the project proceeds as planned, the events center will be on the northeast corner of the MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa property. The project would include an event lawn and a remodel of the MontBleu parking lot.
The center is expected to host about 130 events per year and make an estimated $30-$60 million annually although Feldman said the real benefit will be spillover into businesses around the center and more stability during shoulder seasons.
Project proponents are seeking Tahoe Regional Planning Agency approval in February and hope to break ground in May 2020.
After the meeting, the League to Save Lake Tahoe spoke out with concerns about the project.
“The events center is an exciting opportunity for the South Shore,” Chris Jospeh, Communications Manager for the League said in an email to the Tribune. “Yet given the scale of the project, the potential impact it could have on the community, and the fact that it’s due for a final decision at the end of February, it’s concerning how little we know about it. Prior to Monday evening, very little information had been shared with the community, the City of South Lake Tahoe, or the League. And there have been no opportunities or requests for public input.”
Joseph said the League will continue to research the project and review the Environmental Assessment.
The meeting started at 9 a.m. and ended at 8 p.m.