Lake Tahoe future on agency agenda |

Lake Tahoe future on agency agenda

Patrick McCartney

Special projects designed to reshape the Tahoe Basin’s environment and economy will be subject to review Wednesday at the regular meeting of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s governing board.

The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Horizon Casino Resort in Stateline.

For the last few years, the TRPA has adopted a philosophy of “the project is the fix.”

On Wednesday, the board is scheduled to adopt the Environmental Improvement Program, a comprehensive list of more than 400 projects believed to be essential for achieving nine principal environmental standards. The projects come with a steep price tag of $908 million over the next 10 years.

Also on the agenda Wednesday is a review of a draft environmental study of Project 3, a 19.4-acre redevelopment project in South Lake Tahoe that is intended to revitalize the area’s economy as well as accomplish certain environmental goals.

Like the two redevelopment projects that preceded it – the partly completed Ski Run and the approved Park Avenue projects – Project 3 will reduce the amount of hard coverage on the site and divert urban runoff to be treated. When completed, the project would increase commercial floor area at the same time it reduces hard coverage by 16 percent.

Located on the lake side of U.S. Highway 50 between Stateline and Park Avenue, the proposed project would include a 100,000-square-foot convention center, 532-room hotel, 177-unit time share, retail space and a nightclub.

Perhaps the signature element of Project 3, however, would be a planned scale-model replica of Lake Tahoe, “Lake Passage.” The outdoor pool would feature displays of Lake Tahoe’s natural history, explaining the relationship between the lake’s water quality and human activities, the history of the the region and its people, and identifying points of interest.

Proposed by Harveys Resort Hotel/Casino, Segal-Yue families and the city of South Lake Tahoe Redevelopment Agency, Project 3 is scheduled to break ground in 2000.

Unlike Project 3, the Environmental Improvement Program is a laundry list of improvements throughout the basin aimed at achieving the environmental goals, or thresholds, already adopted by the TRPA.

Of the $908 million in spending called for over the next 10 years, projects to restore Lake Tahoe’s declining clarity would absorb $350.6 million, with soil conservation accounting for $192.7 million and air quality $129.1 million.

The program, which includes a proposed $18.5 million for research and regulations, has served as a rallying point by federal, state and local authorities following the Lake Tahoe Presidential Forum last year.

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