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Commission changes water detention plan

Meet the new plan, different from the old plan.

Like most aspects of South Lake Tahoe’s state line redevelopment projects, plans for the Park Avenue Project’s storm water detention basin have changed.

A new location was proposed and accepted Tuesday by the South Lake Tahoe Planning Commission. The newly proposed basin will border the old plan’s southern edge, from Black Rock Road to a Redevelopment Agency-owned meadow north of Pine Boulevard.



The latest basin will swallow up most of the portion of Pine Boulevard west of Park Avenue. The Meadowood Lodge, Alpine Inn and Spas, La Bella Motel and a vacation rental, and a cabin behind it, at 4002 Pine Blvd., will be acquired by the agency and demolished to make way for the basin.

The previous plan had called for the acquisition and demolition of several houses on Black Rock Road, Azure Avenue and Meadow Road. Affected residents didn’t support the plan and another one was hatched by the city, according to Teri Jamin, public services director.




“I’m happy about it,” said John Halwani, owner of the Alpine Inn. “I can’t wait to sell.”

Halwani, whose Alpine Inn has been kept in good condition, said while he welcomes the news of a city buyout, he is not going to approach the management of his property any differently.

“I’m assuming it won’t be torn down,” Halwani said. “I’m acting like redevelopment doesn’t exist until they come to me.”

The basin relocation will remove most of Pine Boulevard west of Park Avenue. Only a portion will remain to give patrons access to Secrets back parking lot. The majority of Pine on the east side of Park Avenue will not be effected by the new basin.

The basin is designed to allow storm water to enter it near the southern end of the meadow next to La Bella. The water will slowly flow from that area through an isthmus where Pine Boulevard now sits and into another portion of the basin of which the northern end will be at Black Rock. From Black Rock, the treated water will flow from a pipe into the Lakeside Marina.

The Park Avenue Project was scheduled to break ground this summer. Due to a variety of reasons, city officials announced the postponement of the project Jan. 5. The fresh Park Avenue timetable calls for revised ground breaking to be May 15, 2000.

The proposed project will demolish the existing structures on the mountain side of U.S. Highway 50 from just west of the state line Embassy Suites across Park Avenue and including the Crescent V Shopping Center.

The proposed project, to be developed predominantly by American Skiing Company and Cecil’s Market General Store, will include a gondola to Heavenly Ski Resort from Park Avenue, a new Crescent V, a new Cecil’s next to Embassy Suites, a multiplex movie theater, a public transportation hub, a new Lake Tahoe Inn, and quarter-share lodging to be called the Grand Summit Resort.

Several aspects of the project have changed since its inception about seven years ago. The Lake Tahoe Inn portion of the project has had two different developers before American Skiing, Heavenly’s parent company. Company officials, admitting hotel development is not ASC’s forte, are now looking for a partner or independent developer for the hotel.

Also, the project has been proposed to be done in phases many times, but the current plan calls for one fell swoop.

Another redevelopment project, Project 3, is proposed opposite the Park Avenue Project along the highway. Harveys Resort Hotel/Casino is the main proponent for this project, scheduled to break ground in 2001. Quite possibly the most important aspect of this project is the proposed convention center across the state line from Harveys.

Detention basins are required by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to mitigate the effects of urban development. They catch polluted runoff water and allow the harmful sediments to filter out before the water reaches Lake Tahoe, according to Pam Drum, public affairs coordinator for the TRPA. Drum said some of the water filters into the groundwater table which flows to the lake.

Pollution from human abuses is diminishing the clarity of Lake Tahoe by introducing sediment and nutrients which lead to algae. Officials identified a 10-year window of opportunity to reverse the ill effects of the pollution.

Storm water detention basins have been identified as an effective way to reduce lake pollution when they are designed correctly.

The South Lake Tahoe City Council will consider the basin change at its Feb. 2 meeting.

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