Lakeview Commons hearing set for Jan. 25 |

Lakeview Commons hearing set for Jan. 25

Adam Jensen

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Whether the city will re-bid the stalled Lakeview Commons project may be decided this month.

The South Lake Tahoe City Council discussed, but did not take formal action on, the project to improve El Dorado Beach during closed session portions of their Tuesday meeting.

They set a public hearing on the future of the project for Jan. 25.

At the hearing, the council could decide to re-bid the project entirely or award the contract to the next lowest responsive bidder, Clark & Sullivan, in accordance with November decision by El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Steven Bailey.

By issuing the decision, Bailey ruled in favor of Clark & Sullivan and the Carpenters Work Preservation Committee, who challenged the city’s August awarding of the construction contract to Reeve-Knight Construction based on the amount of work to be completed by subcontractors.

Work on the project stopped Sept. 1 following the legal challenge. The popular recreation area remains closed to the public.

Much of Tuesday’s closed session involved whether the city should appeal Bailey’s decision, Enright said.

Reeve-Knight signaled their intention to appeal Bailey’s decision last week, but Enright said he was hopeful a “global resolution” could be reached regarding the stalled project by the upcoming hearing.

Such a resolution would be a relief to G B General Engineering Contractor President Dave Galicia, whose company performed excavation work on the project prior to the legal challenge.

The contractor has not received payment for the work. He said he expected to be paid Oct. 3 and the lack of payment has hurt his company and local materials suppliers. He declined to say how much his company is owed.

Galicia was complimentary towards city staff while speaking at the council meeting Tuesday, but said he has been disappointed by the legal delays.

“We certainly don’t want a second ‘hole,’ another blight, in the middle of town,” Galicia said.

The contractor doubts whether El Dorado Beach facilities will be available to the public in 2011, saying the re-opening could be pushed back until 2012 or later.

“The park is not going to be available for public use until 2012, I don’t care what anyone says,” Galicia said.

There are “obvious hurdles” the city needs to overcome before construction can re-start, but staff still hope to have El Dorado Beach re-opened to the public by the fall, said Public Works Director John Greenhut.

“Our plan is to get it constructed this summer,” Greenhut said Tuesday.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting City Councilwoman Claire Fortier backed off a Dec. 14 suggestion that the city form a citizen committee to examine the handling of Lakeview Commons.

Fortier said she would still like to assuage public concern about the project, but said “huge mistakes were not necessarily made.”

“We are marching along, apparently, on a way to a solution,” Fortier said.

• The city council made appointments to seven of its eight standing commissions Tuesday.

The council delayed appointment of five planning commissioners until February to allow city staff more time to solicit applicants.

Five seats are available on the commission, and five candidates qualified through the city clerk’s office had applied as of Tuesday.

• The council is expected to discuss how to pay for street improvements as part of a strategic planning workshop following their Jan. 25 meeting.

Upgrading to “complete streets” could cost more than $300 million according to rough estimates from city staff. “Complete streets” include sidewalks, bike paths, street lights and drainage improvements.

City Manager Tony O’Rourke said the cost seems daunting, but said general obligation bonds could fund a significant portion of the total cost if the council can carve out a piece of its budget to pay for debt service.

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