Improvements planned at Tahoe Meadows

Susan Wood
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Tahoe Meadows caretaker Jack Pugh views Beach Road, which will soon be paved, while standing on a flood gate that is part of the storm water treatment easement.

Beginning this month, the flood gates of progress may open onto the last bastion of old Tahoe and the first planned open space community.

Public and private improvements that primarily include road widening and paving, and waterline hookups are planned at Tahoe Meadows, an area defined as a 56-cabin homeowners association nestled along the beach between Ski Run Boulevard and Lakeside Marina.

The 106-acre site was deemed a national historic site by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1990, keeping it out of the grip of eminent domain in the city’s 173-acre redevelopment zone from Herbert to Stateline avenue, caretaker Jack Pugh explained.

Because of that, the neighborhood has been low on the radar screen. And some of the residents like it that way. Many want to maintain their quality of life and style of living. The cabins bring up second homeowners and those who have chosen to retire full time in the quiet, gated community. “I’d like to see us get water hookups in here. But I like the roads the way they are,” said Bay Area resident Dave Wescott, one of four siblings rotating summer excursions at the Beach Road cabin. The family’s property dates back to his grandfather, so he wants to maintain the charm of the place.

“I grew up here,” he said.

Wescott said he finds it hard to believe the environmental science that shows dust kicked up on their dirt roads contributes to a diminished lake clarity. He’s convinced the meadow – which would get flooded in spring before the culverts were closed off – works as its own filtration system. He picked up a handful of dirt and asked: “When I let go of this, where do you think it goes?” The wind happened to blow the sand inland.

Debbie Butler, one of eight households living there full time, likes the idea of paving the roads to clean up the neighborhood, but doesn’t want the streets widened to 14 feet.

“It’s dusty. I’m having to wash our cars every day,” she said. “But I’m not keen on widening the roads and taking out old trees.”

The city is set on Sept. 18 to begin the paving job on a half mile of Beach and Meadow roads under a Clean Water Act grant in exchange for an easement to treat stormwater runoff. The job was just granted to Carlson Construction for $170,500.

The local government made the arrangement to fulfill state water quality requirements and best management practices to control drainage from the Park Avenue Redevelopment and Rocky Point Erosion Control projects. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency has imposed an October deadline on city residents, businesses and government project contractors to complete landscaping improvements to control erosion problems. No city money is being spent on the project.

In May, the homeowners association will have the other half mile of Beach and Meadow roads as well as Pine, Cedar, Lake, Wildwood and Azure. They’re also installing fire hydrants.

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