Deadline nears for juvenile facility
El Dorado County needs to secure two plots of land by June 15, a proposed site and an alternative, to be awarded $4,020,000 million in federal and state grant money.
The money is expected to goes toward a $9 million 40-bed juvenile hall planned at South Shore. El Dorado County Board of Supervisors has committed to finance the rest of the project.
The June 15 deadline was set by California Board of Corrections, an agency that plans to hand out $131.7 million this year to fund juvenile correctional facilities. The county’s proposed juvenile hall is one of 11 projects in contention for a chunk of that money, but all the proper paperwork, including proof it has two properties it can build on, must be filed before any money is distributed.
About a 2-acre section of the parking lot at the government center near the intersection of Happy Home Cemetery Road and Johnson Boulevard is a plot under consideration. Its ownership is shared by El Dorado County and the city under a joint-use agreement established in 1972.
The other piece of land being considered is a 4-acre plot adjacent to South Shore’s El Dorado County Jail, which is owned by Lake Tahoe Unified School District. For the last several months the county has been negotiating with the school district to either lease or buy the land, but the two have yet to reach an agreement.
The county’s plan to possibly build on the land jointly owned by the city and county are expected to be introduced at City Council May 1.
“We just became aware of this in the last day or so,” said South Lake Tahoe City Manager David Childs. “We’re not set up for action May 1, but the county may give us some background on their proposed juvenile hall.”
Tuesday night the city planning commission met and unanimously approved zoning of the 4-acre parcel owned by the school district. The planning commission has not yet voted on the second proposed building site, but Childs said the city does support the construction of a juvenile hall.
“Without it our police have to transport all juveniles to Placerville and that takes officers off the street for about six hours,” he said. “It will also help families to connect with their kids. The city is in support of it, but we can’t approve construction on the site until we take a look at it. We need to understand where it will be located and how it would impact other buildings already at the site.”
If the county is able to secure building rights on both parcels by June 15, the location of the hall will be decided by environmental protection agencies.
Because the Board of Correction’s grant is comprised of state and federal money, California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Protection Act must approve a report compiled by an environmental consultant the county will hire after they know the project is a go.
A community meeting is planned at the South Lake Tahoe Branch Library to discuss the proposed juvenile hall. Lake Tahoe District V Supervisor Dave Solaro, El Dorado County Presiding Judge Suzanne Kingsbury and representatives from the county’s probation department are expected to present plans and answer questions Monday at 7:30 p.m.
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