Commission gives nod to affordable housing |

Commission gives nod to affordable housing

Emily Aughinbaugh

The possibility of an affordable housing project at the corner of Ski Run Boulevard and Pioneer Trail made another small step toward reality.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Advisory Planning Commission recommended Wednesday the Governing Board approve the inclusion of a four-acre parcel, proposed to house part of the project, into the Stateline/Ski Run Community Plan boundary.

Community plans are commercial core areas in the basin that have housing in the vicinity for employees of the commercial users and are served by transit and highway access.

The parcel, owned by Steve Gericke of San Francisco, is the first to take advantage of an amendment adopted by the TRPA’s governing board in January that allows community plan boundaries to be amended for deed restricted affordable housing projects.

Because multifamily housing consists of five or more units, more land coverage is needed than the 30 percent allowed outside a community plan. Fifty percent coverage is allowed inside the community plan boundaries, therefore the boundaries have to be amended to allow parcels 50 percent coverage that lie outside the boundaries.

Once more coverage is allowed, the owner of the parcel must then retire the same amount of land in the same sub-watershed somewhere else in the basin.

Although Gericke said he was pleased with the planning commission’s nod of approval, he has a long bureaucratic road ahead of him in his quest to build 83 units of affordable housing.

Any affordable housing project proposed on land lying outside the community plan but wishing to take advantage of incentives given to lots that lie inside the community plan have to go through several approval processes.

Gericke will have to receive approval from both the city and TRPA planning commissions and governing boards.

He hopes to have all necessary approvals in order to submit his project application by next month.

“I just got my designs done from my designer,” Gericke said. “Everything looks favorable.”

Gericke said he’s considering the possibility of the 84 units to be mixed use, perhaps allowing Heavenly Ski Resort employees to rent units part of the year.

The plans include a day-care center, indoor pool, garages, a gym and handicapped accessible units.

Gericke estimates the project will cost between $4 million and $5 million and hopes to break ground this building season, which runs from May 1 to Oct. 15.

However, Lisa O’Daly, city associate planner, said all the necessary agency approvals must be sought for the inclusion of the parcel into the community plan boundary before any specific project is considered.

“The lack of affordable housing in the basin is being tackled by a number of local agencies,” O’Daly said. “And the city is eager to assess any projects that address that issue.”

Gericke’s parcel will go before the next governing board meeting March 28.

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