Montgomery ’99 percent’ certain that Kings Beach three-lane project is a go

Jenell Schwab

The odds are very high the Highway 28 three-lane project will go ahead as planned and on schedule despite Wednesday’s mandated demolition of statewide redevelopment agencies, Placer County Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery said.

When Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to rid the state of more than 400 redevelopment agencies was affirmed in December by the California Supreme Court, municipal and regional governments were left in the cold wondering what would happen to funding for RDA projects in progress.

Over the last few weeks, as officials hashed through the details of what exactly becomes of RDA bonds, projects and assets, some issues have begun to clarify.

One of the first issues deals with bonds. Placer County attorneys have reached the opinion that enforceable contracts between an RDA and a third party are, and will continue to be, valid, Montgomery said in a Friday interview.

With this interpretation, any redevelopment enterprise receiving all or a portion of its funding from bond measures – enforceable contracts with those who purchased the bonds – should continue to receive funding. The three-lane project is one such undertaking.

“The language is very clear,” Montgomery said. “We’re 99 percent sure.”

The 1 percent of doubt derives from uncertainties that have plagued the RDA abolition process since its inception last month, she said.

Directions from the governor’s office on how to proceed with dismantling the RDAs have been erratic and unclear, local officials have said recently.

Mistakes might be costly, they said, as the state controller might have the authority to claw back funds – even money already spent – from defunct RDAs.

Also, dissolved RDAs may be required to liquidate assets. Officials are still going through the process of identifying which holdings can be kept and which must be sold, Montgomery said, but the RDA-owned parking lots in Kings Beach may have to be put on the market.

“If we have to sell things off,” she said, “I’m going to get top dollar.”

Redevelopment funds account for $11 million of the $44 million Kings Beach project. The remaining $33 million comes from sources unrelated to the redevelopment fund, such as federal and state programs and grants.

Joy Doyle, executive director of the Kings Beach-based North Tahoe Business Association, said she is relieved the project appears to be proceeding.

“The fact of the matter is there are a lot of moving parts to this,” said Doyle. “I’m an optimist. I’m not one to think the sky is falling.”

The project is currently in the design phase, which could wrap by the middle of the year, said Peter Kraatz of Placer County Public Works. Depending on the timing of the funding, construction should begin as planned in 2013, if not earlier, he said.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.