Golf course parking in peril |

Golf course parking in peril

Bijou Golf Course in the city of South Lake Tahoe.
File photo

The city is taking a swing at coming up with a parking solution for the Bijou Golf Course – with options ranging from building more amenities on the lot to closure or the sale of the recreational facility.

The 8-year lease expires March 31 between the South Lake Tahoe government and longtime parking lot property owner Knox Johnson. The two parties have been working on a compromise.

Shutting down the golf course is not the preferred option for those involved. It would mean a $250,000 net loss in the city’s general fund. The city charges $18 for nine holes of play.

“If I have to lease it myself, it won’t be closed,” Councilman Ted Long said. He’s serving on a subcommittee with Councilman Hal Cole assigned to come up with an equitable solution that may come before the council in the next few weeks. It may include a short-term lease until the parties agree on what to do with the property over the long haul.

As part of a new lease, Johnson – a Carson Valley resident – wants upgrades to the 5-acre parking lot off Johnson Boulevard that he leases to the city for $14,000 a year. The city doesn’t want to be strapped with a large bill for improvements.

Those enhancements include building a clubhouse, barbecue pit and tennis courts. Cole and Long will hash out a strategic plan with the Parks and Recreation Commission, which has not met since the board was appointed a few months ago.

“We need something to bring families out,” Long said. “Like the (Lake Tahoe) Airport, this is a credible community asset that’s been underutilized.”

Long said the city wants to appeal to Johnson’s civic-minded side.

The parking lot will need to be paved in the next few years to meet best management practices as established by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

“It’s got to be financially right for both parties. We need to recoup our capital investments,” city Parks Superintendent Steve Weiss said.

If no agreement is made, the city may allow parking on Fairway Drive. However, that would require about $4,000 to put up a footbridge, netting and sod, Weiss told the council at its Feb. 1 meeting.

Or, the city may opt to shuttle players from other locations.

Johnson, who has not returned phone calls, informed council members the parking lot isn’t for sale. But he is interested in continuing to lease the lot to the city.

– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at

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