Stateline redevelopment clears another hurdle; Douglas County acknowledges blight
STATELINE — Most people wouldn’t associate Lake Tahoe with blight, but in order to form a redevelopment area at Stateline, that’s just what Douglas County commissioners did on Thursday.
Deputy District Attorney Zach Wadlé said Nevada law requires that the county accept a report finding that Stateline has blight that could be cured by redevelopment.
“Blight in Stateline, resulting from economic maladjustment, is severe, ongoing and unmistakable,” according to the report by Bender & Associates.
The report said that of the nine factors of blight provided for in state law, Stateline demonstrated eight of them.
Mike Bradford of the South Tahoe Alliance of Resorts said redevelopment would help transform Stateline’s economy from one reliant on gaming to one based on outdoor recreation.
A loop road around Stateline is one of the provisions sought by the group; the other is a year around entertainment venue.
Should the county approve the second reading of an ordinance creating the area, property tax increases inside the area will be dedicated to the agency to the tune of $47.2 million over the next 30 years.
Bradford said the group wants to ensure that emergency services aren’t affected by the redevelopment agency.
“We recognize this could have an effect on the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District,” he said. “We hope they do have more calls, because by doing this we hope to have many more people in the area.”
According to the redevelopment report, the high-rise casinos at Stateline were built when gaming was the chief reason people visited Lake Tahoe.
“These five casinos were all built in a different era when gaming was the overriding reason to visit,” the report said. “Over the past several decades, the decline in Stateline’s economy has been dramatic. From declining employment, to reduced gaming revenue, … to competition for discretionary spending from California shops and restaurants, this trend is ominous.”
Commissioners were concerned that they would have to review building permits under a provision in the report.
“Let us suppose I want to remodel a bar in one of my casinos,” commissioner Greg Lynn said hypothetically. “Does the RDA have to approve that? We might end up putting a dampening effect on an area we are trying to improve.”
Community development director Mimi Moss said that commissioners, sitting as the redevelopment board, do not review building permits in the current redevelopment.
Wadlé said he would research the issue and get back to commissioners before the second reading of the ordinance on Feb. 18.
Before that happens, the ordinance must be published.
The redevelopment area includes Edgewood, the Hard Rock, Harrah’s, Harvey’s, the Lakeside Inn, Montbleu, Wells Fargo and Tahoe Shores mobile home court.
Douglas County’s other redevelopment area stretches from the shopping centers at Topsy Way to Genoa. Redevelopment money was used to build the Genoa Vista Trail, improve Vista Grande in Indian Hills and will help fund improvements to the North Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant.
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