Commission upset with TRPA over ruling
South Shore Estates – a project for 26 two-story, multi-family residences near Kahle Park, Lake Village and the Old Nugget Building – is a sore issue for Douglas County Commissioners.
Commissioners expressed support Thursday for project developer and architect James Borelli, while strongly criticizing the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s recent decision that an Environmental Impact Statement be completed before the project proceeds.
“It just doesn’t seem like all the cards are lined up as they should be,” said Commissioner Steve Weissinger. “It seems like all private property rights are being thrown out the window, regardless – and in spite of – the private property owner’s concerns for the environmental impacts of the project.”
As part of the project, Borelli said he would restore a section of Burke Creek and later sell that 5-acre parcel of the property to the U.S. Forest Service. He also said he would address traffic concerns by adding a center lane to U.S. Highway 50 which would allow drivers making left turns not to worry about oncoming traffic.
TRPA staff, Borelli said, was recommending full approval of the project until a Washoe grinding stone was found on the property. The agency’s governing board postponed its decision until an archeological study could be completed. Although no further artifacts were discovered, the Washoe Tribe disagreed with the findings, saying that the 18-acre parcel was part of a larger one which includes the meadow on the other side of the highway, considered special to the tribe.
Because of these conflicting views, TRPA staff decided an Environmental Impact Study was in order – a decision which Borelli plans to appeal at the board’s Aug. 25 meeting.
“What is so frustrating to me is that I was encouraged by TRPA staff from the beginning,” Borelli told the commissioners. “To pull the rug out at the end, when there was clear encouragement from the beginning, is very discouraging.”
The study could cost up to $100,000 and take as long as one year to complete. Commissioner Don Miner, a member of the TRPA board of directors, said that with the support of the commission, he would fully back Borelli’s appeal.
In further commission business:
n After an update on the Leviathan Mine cleanup by Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board executive director Harold Singer, commissioners agreed to delay their support until further information could be gathered at their first meeting in October.
n Commissioners decided that after an additional review in October, Douglas County planner Pete Wysocki’s position in TRPA offices would be extended and reviewed annually.
n Discussion of a proposed time-share unit inside the Summit Village subdivision on Kingsbury Grade was postponed.
What: TRPA meeting
When: Aug. 25, 11 a.m.
Where: Tahoe Seasons Resort, Saddle Road at Keller
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The reopening of U.S. Highway 50 starts 8 a.m. today for residents and property owners in preparation for its full opening 8 a.m. Tuesday.