Meyers refining community vision
Meyers Area Plan projects:
• Build a “Welcome to Meyers” sign.
• Highway 50 corridor improvements: Better landscaping, public art, Pat Lowe bike path repairs, crosswalks, transit shelters, benches, construction of pedestrian crossing under highway to connect with trails along the river.
• Snow removal on Pat Lowe bike trail and improved snow removal and storage on Highway 50.
• Inventory and advertise rock climbing and bouldering areas, winter backcountry trails.
• Implement an area-wide erosion control and BMP implementation project.
• Create a program to identify and remove invasive species.
• Improve street sweeping.
• Improve public transit service between Meyers and South Lake Tahoe.
• Build a 1.5-mile bike path along State Route 89 from end of Pat Lowe bike trail at Pomo Street south to Reindeer Way.
• Build a quarter-mile bike trail linking East and West San Bernardino avenues with a bridge over the Upper Truckee River.
• Build a loop trail connecting Meyers Community Center to surrounding recreation and residential areas, including Washoe Meadows State Park.
• Integrate the Meyers Area Plan with the Washoe Meadows State Park General Plan.
• Restore the former Tahoe Pines campground with a new day use area with parking, picnic tables, bike racks, benches and trails.
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Meyers’s draft area plan was handed over to Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Regional Plan Implementation Committee for an informal review Wednesday.
The plan is tentatively slated for adoption this spring.
Over nearly two years, it has been hashed out by an advisory community council of volunteers working with TRPA and El Dorado County planning staff. As part of the plan, the council would be set up as a permanent advisory group to review projects.
The area plan covers 669 acres of land, proposing land use and zoning designations, building, density and design standards and targeted community improvement projects and initiatives.
“It’s still very much a work in progress,” said Adam Lewandowski, a planner with TRPA. “There will be revisions, additional meetings to make sure it represents the community as well as it can.”
El Dorado County Supervisor Norma Santiago on Wednesday praised the work done so far. “Not only is this area plan good and solid, it is damn good. It is great,” she said.
Meyers is the primary entryway to Lake Tahoe Basin. About 38 percent of vehicles entering the basin pass through the unincorporated community.
One of the plan’s biggest priorities and challenges is improving Meyers’ interface with Highway 50, balancing the needs of a busy highway with the need for a safer pedestrian environment, Lewandowski and others said.
“Meyers doesn’t want to be just a gateway, it wants to be a sustainable destination where the community and visitors can enjoy the recreational assets that surround it,” Santiago said.
Other priorities in the plan include simpler permitting for special events and building projects, an ordinance to protect Meyers’ landmark trees, water quality projects and improved BMP compliance and an assortment of new trails and trailheads.
“The intent is to keep it rural in a sense, but also capitalize on more progressive planning techniques to make it more walkable and bikeable and help people move around without the use of a car,” said Brendan Ferry, a planner with El Dorado County.
One county project this summer will build a bike trail connecting Meyers to the “Y” intersection in South Lake Tahoe.
“Our goal is to head down Sawmill Road, connect at Lake Tahoe Boulevard and connect to the high school at the Y. We are very near to delivering two remaining phases this summer and add about 3.5 miles of Class 1 path to that system that will connect Meyers to the Y. We’re really excited about that,” Ferry said.
The draft plan’s building height and density standards are stricter than what are allowed under the Regional Plan Update adopted by TRPA. It limits heights to 35 feet and densities to 30 units per acre for tourism projects and 20 units per acre for multifamily residential projects.
A waiver of county fees for new commercial floor area as well as greater densities and heights up to 45 feet would be allowed for “community incentive projects” that meet a series of defined goals in the town center boundary.
Santiago stressed an “Athlete’s Village” or “Meyers Basecamp” vision prepared by consultant One Globe Corporation through a $25,000 grant through TRPA and the county is separate from the area plan and nothing more than a concept.
“Their charge was to look at how you could apply sustainability principles to a project and make it fundable while at the same time delivering improved infrastructure,” Santiago said.
“Unfortunately it has been used as a tactic to say the area plan is somehow going to be utilized to allow for expanded growth in the area and all kinds of things, and people are saying there’s actually a project on hand. That is not the case.”
Even if there is no actual project or developer waiting in line to build One Globe’s concept, it still startled some residents.
“That came out and we saw what could happen,” said Jennifer Quashnick, a Meyers resident. She called the concept One Globe prepared and presented in November “completely out of scale with Meyers.”
“People don’t want to stop the (area) plan, but people want a chance to think about it a little more and do a few tweaks. Because right now it does appear to be open for something that big,” Quashnick told the RPIC.