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Douglas County’s affordable housing shortage and South Lake Tahoe

KINGS BEACH-While Douglas County has nowhere to build its “fair share” of affordable housing at Lake Tahoe, adding more to the city of South Lake Tahoe should not be an option, officials said Wednesday.

“We have our own fair-share need that we’re trying to address,” Patrick Conway, housing coordinator for the city, said Wednesday to a panel of advisers to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

“To really consider that as a viable alternative, I just don’t think you’ll get support from the city of South Lake Tahoe for this,” he added.



TRPA’s advisory planning commission was without a quorum at the meeting; however, the members who were there agreed to give an informal recommendation to the agency’s governing board not to consider that as an option.

“I have a problem with shifting the responsibility to South Lake Tahoe,” said Kevin Cole, TRPA planning commission member. “The city of South Lake Tahoe has its own responsibility.”



A fair-share affordable housing study, which identified that the Douglas County portion of the basin was deficient about 1,400 residential units, was conducted by TRPA in 1996, .

While many low-income earners are employed by Stateline’s casinos, to date, no affordable housing has been built in Douglas County and just 67 are planned for construction.

TRPA officials recently came to the conclusion that the 1,400 goal can never be reached under existing rules. It would take significant changes – some probably controversial – in order for Douglas ever to achieve split that number.

TRPA is proposing some of those changes and sought input from the advisory planning board. The agency’s governing board is scheduled to review the situation later this month.

A complex project – consisting of razing a 187-unit apartment complex in Stateline, building a stormwater treatment system where the apartments are, constructing a 138-unit time-share in Round Hill and a 67-unit affordable housing complex off of Kingsbury Grade – is one of the reasons behind TRPA’s intent to address the situation.

TRPA’s board approved the project in March, but board members were concerned that 187 apartment units would be lost and only 67 replaced. Even though the soon-to-be-razed buildings aren’t considered affordable housing, many low-income families live there.

To alleviate the board’s concerns, developers agreed to try to find a place to build another 70 units somewhere in the county.

The developers have an application in to extend the urban boundary for a parcel in Round Hill. While a campground, a large house or an RV park could be built on the site now, it would take the urban boundary change before multi-family residences could be put there.

Historically, the League to Save Lake Tahoe and the California Attorney General’s Office have adamantly opposed extending the urban boundary. In addition to that opposition, residents in that area are against it.

The advisory board Wednesday indicated it opposed urban boundary changes unless all other possibilities fell through.

“I don’t think we should extend the urban boundary unless all other opportunities are exhausted,” said Sharon Kvas, advisory commission member.

Michael Roeser, a Round Hill resident, explained to the board that the area’s residents had fought a development in the early 1980s that would have helped the community pay off a bond. This action caused the residents to have the highest property taxes in the state. If the residents opposed that, he said, it was fallacy to say they were opposing the latest project because of NIMBY – not in my back yard – issues.

“We are not opposing affordable housing; we are opposing development,” he said.

breakout

What: TRPA Governing Board meeting

When: Oct. 27, 9:30 a.m.

Where: Tahoe Seasons Resort, Saddle Road at Keller


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