Douglas OKs Walley’s Hot Springs expansion |

Douglas OKs Walley’s Hot Springs expansion

by Scott Neuffer / The Record-Courier

Plans for hundreds of new timeshare units at David Walley’s Hot Springs Resort & Spa east of Lake Tahoe are moving forward, with the help of redevelopment money.

On Thursday, the Douglas County commission voted unanimously to modify the resort’s special use permit, allowing another 190 time share units to be built on the historic property south of Genoa.

The resort’s original permit, issued in 1997, allowed for 150 timeshares. Since then, 112 have been built on the east side of Foothill Road. New plans are for 12 more units on the east side and 216 new units on the west side of Foothill for a grand total of 340 timeshares.

In March, county commissioners continued the item, citing concerns about pedestrian safety, also expressed by the Genoa Town Board.

The section of road between the east and west properties curves around a steep rampart of the Carson Range. Limited driver visibility and a 55-mile-per-hour speed limit pose serious risks for anyone crossing the highway, Genoans said.

Commissioners proposed an underground tunnel beneath Foothill Road as a solution to the problem. Subsequently, developers contacted the Nevada Department of Transportation, which raised no objections to the tunnel.

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“I’m very gratified to see the tunnel that Genoa suggested, and that follow-up has come along so rapidly,” said Genoa resident Bill Brooks. “It’s an amenity that will benefit the town.”

Engineers of the project estimated the tunnel, big enough for golf carts, would cost $300,000, a cost the county was willing to share.

Community Development Director Mimi Moss said the east side of Walley’s lies in the redevelopment zone, but not the west side. However, because the tunnel would serve the east side and connect the two properties, it would still qualify for redevelopment funding, Moss said.

Commissioner Dave Brady questioned whether the redevelopment agency had enough money to support the project.

“The funding does exist to support this,” answered County Manager T. Michael Brown.

The question then became how much the county should contribute.

Developers requested 50 percent, or $150,000, but Deputy District Attorney Cynthea Gregory reminded commissioners that state law requires prevailing wage for any project receiving more than $100,000 of public money.

In the end, commissioners settled on 30 percent, not to exceed $90,000 if the cost of the tunnel increases.

“They’ve been a good applicant,” said Commissioner Mike Olson. “They’ve done what they needed to do. We requested this, and they provided.”