County planners OK Heavenly development |

County planners OK Heavenly development

Construction of 12 residential ski-in, ski-out units along the Nevada side of the Heavenly Ski Resort Stagecoach ski run could begin as early as this summer, according to Andrew Strain, director of planning for Heavenly.

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved Heavenly’s planned development application from LTD/KDT Development Company of Zephyr Cove at Thursday’s meeting. Phase 1 of the project includes the 12 units. The additional 120 units are part of Phase 2 and will require Strain to re-address the board for approval. He thinks building the additional units will take two or more years because of the extensive planning that will be conducted.

The proposed 12 units on Quaking Aspen Lane would be high-quality, low-impact units that would blend in with the mountain landscape, Strain said.

“It’s the type of project people will like because of its setting. There is nothing quite like it in Tahoe,” Strain said.

Owners of the units will be able to open their back doors, step into their skis, and shoot down the mountain.

“There will be minimal visibility from Carson Valley,” Strain said. “We think it would be an asset to the community.”

The board and developers ran into some conflict about the desired width of the private, gated access drive to the planned community. Developers had originally asked the board to go against its master plan and waive the 24-foot width required for roads and settle on 16 feet.

Allen Ripkin, a resident of Quaking Aspen Lane, has watched the roadbed deteriorate over the years and expressed his concerns with the new development. He wondered how the added cars would impact the area.

“The 1996 Autumn Hills fire taught us that we didn’t know much,” Ripkin said. “Frankly, the residents are getting tired of this.”

“When are we going to invoke the good planning that we created in the master plan?” asked District 4 Commissioner Don Miner.

The critical issue became fire service accessibility to an area without room to turn around a fire engine.

After Tahoe-Douglas Fire Department officials told the board that it would be difficult to access the area with a 16-foot drive in emergencies, the board and developers compromised on widening the proposed drive from 16 to 20 feet.

Strain would like to see this project lead the way for future neighborhoods. Strain has lived in Tahoe since 1986 and said he has seen gradual improvements to the way properties are developed.

“I’ve seen a change for the better,” he said.

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