Council to discuss eminent domain for loop road |

Council to discuss eminent domain for loop road

Adam Jensen

Whether South Lake Tahoe should revive the power of eminent domain for a controversial loop road project around the casino corridor will be discussed by the City Council Tuesday.

Allowing the use of eminent domain faces an uphill battle with the council. The power has a contentious history in the city because of its previous use in the redevelopment of the stateline area.

Several council members have voiced opposition to using eminent domain, which allows public agencies to take private property for public uses with compensation, for the proposed loop road project.

The road would act as a bypass around the casino corridor, while narrowing and slowing down the existing highway through the casinos.

The project, which has been long-discussed but remains in its preliminary planning stages, has attracted vocal opposition from nearby property owners concerned with losing their property or seeing a decline in business. Proponents contend it is a key component of reinventing the South Shore as a pedestrian-friendly tourist destination.

Whether eminent domain will be needed for the loop road project to move forward is unknown, according to the Tahoe Transportation District. Working with property owners to reach a fair market value price for their properties is the preferred method of acquiring the property necessary for the project, according to the district.

The council meeting will begin at 9 a.m. at Lake Tahoe Airport, 1901 Airport Road.

• The City Council will discuss authorizing an agreement with Tahoe Sports and Entertainment for operation of the South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena.

The city and TSE have been working on completing a long-term contract for operation of the bond-funded arena for nearly a year.

The current contract proposal is for 10 years, with TSE having the option to extend the contract for an additional 10 years if the company invests at least $250,000 in the arena.

The contract requires alterations to the ice arena by TSE to be approved by the City Council. If the city ends the contract early, TSE and the city will meet to determine reimbursement by the city for any capital improvements made by the company, according to the contract.

• The council will discuss submitting official comments on the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Regional Plan Update. Whether the RPU’s environmental document is consistent with the city’s recently approved general plan and whether the RPU does enough to allow for the revitalization of the city are among the issues raised in a draft version of the comments.

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