High-profile North Tahoe redevelopment earns approval from TRPA governing board | TahoeDailyTribune.com

High-profile North Tahoe redevelopment earns approval from TRPA governing board

Matt Renda and Kevin Macmillan
Sierra Sun
Provided to the TribuneA conceptual rendering shows what Boulder Bay will look like.

KINGS BEACH, Calif. – Boulder Bay is moving forward.

At the end of a Wednesday meeting that lasted nearly 12 hours, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency governing board, in a 12-2 vote, approved three items related to the proposed redevelopment of the Tahoe Biltmore property in Crystal Bay along Lake Tahoe’s North Shore.

In all, Mara Bresnick and Byron Sher were the lone governing board members to vote “nay” on all three items. Shelly Aldean, John Breternitz, Nancy McDermid, Ross Miller, Tom Cashman, Steve Robinson, Robin Reedy, Clem Shute, Norma Santiago, Claire Fortier, Larry Sevinson and Casey Beyer all voted in favor.

Sher left the meeting early – although he made it clear he would vote against the project. TRPA legal counsel confirmed after the meeting that Sher’s vote would count in the final tally.

“The board’s decision today comes at a critical juncture in the path to restore Lake Tahoe,” TRPA Board Chair Norma Santiago in a press release issued moments after the meeting adjourned. “Our communities need better direction from TRPA on how to keep good projects coming forward and today’s approval shows that the agency is ready to move forward in partnership with private property owners to support environmental as well as economic revitalization.”

The project aims to construct a 275-room hotel with a 10,000 square-foot casino, 59 whole-ownership units, 14 on-site affordable housing units, 10 off-site affordable housing units, a spa and other amenities, while also addressing outdated environmental concerns at the Tahoe Biltmore site.

Boulder Bay is expected to be built over three years in phases; it could break ground as early as spring 2012.

According to an unofficial tally, about 80 members of the public provided analysis and testimony throughout Wednesday afternoon regarding proposed benefits and concerns over the project’s size.

At the center of the discussion was the TRPA code amendment to allow the height of the proposed four-story buildings and a pair of traffic analyses showing the project would reduce traffic and vehicle emissions. The height amendment allows Boulder Bay to maintain roughly the same grandfathered height of the current Tahoe Biltmore building – 75 feet.

“With science showing us that we can reverse the decline of Lake Tahoe’s clarity by encouraging environmental redevelopment of our town centers, the cost of doing nothing is just too high for the lake,” said TRPA Director Joanne Marchetta in a statement. “Redevelopment projects like Boulder Bay are an important part of the public-private effort to restore Lake Tahoe.”

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