Convention center previewed |

Convention center previewed

The largest redevelopment project to hit South Shore since Heavenly Village will be reviewed by the Governing Board of Tahoe’s planning agency next week.

Plans for the South Lake Tahoe Convention Center and condominium project have been approved twice before, but the last permit expired in 2004. This version is a scaled-down development that would cover 11.36 acres and would include a public park and erosion control projects.

Randy Lane’s Lake Tahoe Development Co. requested the chance to appear before the board of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to give an informational preview of the project. The board is not expected to make any decisions that day.

Lane hopes to gain approval for the six-story convention center and 130-unit condominium project by June or July of this year, and possibly break ground by May 2007. Details of the South Shore development will be revealed in Kings Beach, where the board will meet May 24.

The city of South Lake Tahoe is still working out the financial aspects of the center, said City Manager Dave Jinkens. It’s still unclear who all the partners will be, and whether the project will receive public assistance.

The City Council is expected to hear answers to some of these questions at one of its June meetings, Jinkens said.

More dead trees?

In other news, two more property owners are under scrutiny by Tahoe’s planning agency for illegally cutting down trees and another two for illegal grading.

Tahoe Paradise property owner Paul Wilson and his framing contractor Dane Purcell are being fined $7,500 for their alleged involvement in cutting down a large Jeffrey pine despite its being designated off-limits in the original building permit. The new house under construction is a large, two-story, two-car garage with a design typical of Tahoe Keys homes.

Neither Wilson nor Purcell have admitted fault, and blame each other for the removed tree.

Wilson’s lawyer Jordan Morgenstern said his client has cooperated fully with TRPA’s investigation.

“The only reason the tree is gone is because Mr. Purcell called him to say the tree has got to come out,” Morgenstern said.

Purcell, who is not the original contractor on the job, claims Wilson is using him as a scapegoat.

“(Morgenstern’s statement) is a complete fabrication and lie,” Purcell said. “(Wilson) knew about the tree well before I got there and he used me as a scapegoat just because I was the middle man.”

Morgenstern is the subject of his own separate proposed settlement before the agency Wednesday for his alleged involvement in illegal grading on his property on Thunderbird Drive.

Morgenstern’s contractor John Werner moved 10 cubic yards of soil to build a retaining wall to solve a drainage problem. Morgenstern has taken full responsibility for the unauthorized work, according to TRPA documents.

TRPA is asking for $5,000, restoration, and BMP completion in its settlement with Morgenstern.

Washoe County property owner Jim Panagopoulos is being fined $10,000 for allegedly moving 40 cubic yards of dirt after Oct. 15, when it is illegal to move dirt without a special permit. The man also allegedly violated a cease-and-desist order and did not back fill the area with drainrock as directed.

Rubicon Bay homeowner Donald Giesen is being fined $15,000 for cutting down five trees without a permit. Giesen allegedly told TRPA he did not know he needed a permit, and cut the trees to reduce the risk of fire. Although his home has a view of Lake Tahoe, cutting the trees did not improve it, according to TRPA documents.

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