Meyers still finding its identity |

Meyers still finding its identity

William Ferchland

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune/ Public art adds to Meyers' character.

It’s been described as the boonies. A hamlet, a snow magnet and funkytown could also be used.

For all the words that can depict Meyers, the town of a few thousand sitting between South Lake Tahoe and Echo Summit is still struggling to find an identity that would make residents proud and persuade the steady stream of weekend motorists on Highway 50 to hit the brakes and stop awhile.

A community plan tried to do just that for the former 1850s way station. Adopted by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and El Dorado County, the plan called for a bike trail, entry signs and art. It also designated sections of land along the Highway 50 corridor as residential, commercial, public services and recreational.

The problem? The plan has sat relatively dormant since it was adopted in late 1993.

Sue Novasel, who worked on the plan and now chairs the Meyers Community Roundtable, said it stagnated because of the problems forming a town council, a key element in implementing the scheme.

“It’s been a shame,” she said. “We had some great plans in there.”

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Four candidates for the lone Tahoe seat on the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors have ideas for the town.

Attorney Dennis Crabb would like to streamline the building approval process by giving the county oversight and lessening TRPA’s role.

He said the roundtable should have a “connection between county government and Meyers,” perhaps by even putting out newsletters.

Business owner Lou Pierini wants more businesses and government offices in Meyers and unique architecture to catch people’s eyes.

“I think it’s also a good area to have some industrial off San Jose Road,” he said.

Notary Stephen Reinhard has a specific idea on the type of business needed in Meyers: a 24-hour center “with an Arco, AM/PM, Del Taco, coffee shop Internet cafe and sheriff substation,” he stated in an e-mail.

Reinhard also proposed that roughly 10 times a year during the worst traffic congestion opening Meyers Grade, the former main route up Echo Summit that is now a favorite for hikers and dog walkers, as a two-lane, one-way street with assistance from the California Highway Patrol.

Health care professional Norma Santiago vowed to investigate funding to help implement the Meyers Community Plan.

“Let’s put the plan in use,” she said.

A different plan to connect Meyers to Stateline with a bike trail ideally could have construction begin next fall, said Bob Kingman, program analyst with the California Tahoe Conservancy.

The conservancy has a 9.2-mile stretch of land from Meyers to Stateline that juts north to Elks Club Drive then east to Stateline, connecting to Lake Tahoe Community College and ending at an area behind the Stateline casinos.

“It would be fantastic,” he said. “I mean, from my personal standpoint, it would serve as a critical and key infrastructure piece for this community to achieve an alternate to driving.”

Brian Levy, owner of Divided Sky in Meyers, wouldn’t mind public transportation to South Lake Tahoe, something that was in the community plan.

A stoplight might work as well, he said, and provide a place where children can cross the street safely.

“It would be nice for people to slow down,” he said.

Others in Meyers would likely agree.