Convention center goes before TRPA: Parking, groundwater could be issues with the project |

Convention center goes before TRPA: Parking, groundwater could be issues with the project

Amanda Fehd

The proposed convention center at South Shore is undergoing the usual scrutiny by Tahoe’s environmental regulators, with parking and groundwater trouble arising as potential hurdles.

The proposed project goes before the Governing Board of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency on Wednesday, with several dozen conditions attached to any approval of the project.

Planning staff have pinpointed several conflicts in the original plans, including inadequate parking and the project’s interception with the groundwater table, usually prohibited by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

The South Lake Tahoe City Council, acting as the South Tahoe Redevelopment Agency, gave their stamp of approval for the project earlier this month.

Lake Tahoe Development will foot the $410 million construction bill in return for property and motel-room tax revenue generated after the project is built.

The project could be exempt from the groundwater rule if developers find a way to reroute underground water flows, according to a TRPA staff memo.

The project proposes placing an underground parking garage and night club that would go deeper than 18 feet. Studies show during high water years groundwater flows 18 feet below ground in that area.

In addition, the plan’s parking facilities could result in a shortfall of almost 1,000 spaces if concerts are attended at capacity, the memo says. The center could accommodate up to 4,400 per concert.

“Unfortunately, there is not enough shared parking to accommodate a maximum attended local convention, evening or afternoon concerts,” the memo states.

Lake Tahoe Development Co. has suggested providing additional offsite parking.

TRPA staff also seem concerned about pedestrian safety and included several conditions for landscaping and sidewalks designed to discourage jaywalking.

Several people have been injured using a crosswalk at Friday Avenue and Highway 50. The City of South Lake Tahoe intends to start construction on a street light at the intersection this fall.

The convention project suggests building a tunnel under the crosswalk to the Heavenly Village complex and gondola. Any such plans for a tunnel must be approved separately from the convention center project.

If you go:

What: TRPA Governing Board meeting

When: Wednesday, July 26, 9:30 a.m.

Where: North Tahoe Conference Center

Also on the agenda: Heavenly Master Plan public hearing, executive director performance review, Pathway 2007 update, adoption of 2007 federal transportation plan.

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