City to commission economic analysis study on Loop Road |

City to commission economic analysis study on Loop Road

Laney Griffo |
David Zehner presents the 2018 economic analysis on Loop Road to the council.
Laney Griffo / Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Lake Tahoe will commission a new economic analysis on the Loop Road project.

City council decided at its meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 1, to have City Manager Frank Rush draft an economic analysis separate from the one done commissioned in 2018 by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

Councilmember Devin Middlebrook didn’t feel like the current analysis gives the city enough information, including how Measure T, a recent initiative passed by voters that restricts vacation home rentals to the tourist core among other things, could impact the project.

Councilor Cody Bass wants to see the economic analysis to encompass other areas of the city to decide if the Loop Road project is the best project on which to focus.

Many community members expressed support in the city doing an independent analysis.

South Tahoe Chamber President Duane Wallace said there is too much uncertainty with the project.

Rush will create a draft of the study to present at the November meeting, at which time, community members can comment on the study.

The council decided to postpone putting a Loop Road question on the March 2020 ballot until they have more information.

Another topic discussed at the meeting include traffic through the Rocky Point neighborhood. Rush proposed different strategies to mitigate traffic through that neighborhood including putting stop signs on Glen Road, Chonokis Road and Montreal Road, eliminating the connector road to Fern Road or doing studies on other traffic mitigating methods.

Rush will look at working with a traffic engineer to address those options.

The meeting started with a lively discussion on the proposed Verizon Wireless cell towers in the Ski Run neighborhood.

Many community members showed up to rally against the towers, saying that it will decrease home values.

The majority of those who spoke also expressed health concerns of the towers.

Rush is still working with Verizon to find other potential sites for the tower.

“The last thing I want to do is propose a site that will cause the same concerns,” Rush said.

At this time, the city will not pursue an independent health study. Rush said the city is relying on the Federal Communications Commission as the experts on the subject.

The FCC has declared that cell towers do not put people at excessive risk, that “the possibility that a member of the general public could be exposed to RF levels in excess of the FCC guidelines is extremely remote,” according to its website.

The city also voted to become sister cities with Ameca, in the State of Jalisco, Mexico.

Valente Serrano, President of Ameca, plans to attend the next council meeting to make the relationship official.

Mayor Brooke Laine said this relationship will help bring more culture to the city, something the city, “lacks in many ways.”

The council agreed on making sure the relationship is mutually beneficial, including study abroad programs.

“It’s a great opportunity for our community, hopefully they’ll find benefit too,” Rush said of Ameca’s incentive to join the relationship.

The next meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15.

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