Affordable housing,airport, sales taxall on council agenda
By Susan Wood
Tribune staff writer
The reoccurring theme of change in the face of old issues will dominate the South Lake Tahoe City Council Tuesday.
When it meets at 9 a.m., the panel may determine guidelines for motels seeking to turn their properties into affordable housing units. The city wants to set rules ranging from cooking appliances to storage capacity since the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency modified its code standards to better accommodate them.
With the ever-increasing demand for affordable housing and the lack of shelter options, many South Shore residents live long-term in motels.
“When the international students come in, the demand is greater,” Thunderbird Motel manager Don Delgado said Sunday. Those seasons are winter and summer.
Of the Laurel Avenue motel’s 18 rooms, four are dedicated to long-term rentals – complete with kitchens and full bathrooms.
Washoe Motel manager Kathy Duarte said her lodging establishment on Highway 89 is working on converting more of its 17 rooms to long-term rentals.
Subcommittee members Hal Cole and John Upton, both councilmen, are recommending standards that define a deed-restricted, affordable housing unit as one with a ceiling height of 7 feet, 6 inches. Other features of the unit may be a kitchen with stovetop and oven along with a bathroom with a bathing facility. Storage should also give occupants 200 cubic feet of space, which could be located in the unit or on the premises. Plus, no fewer than 1.5 parking spaces shall be granted.
Air transportation will also top the Tuesday agenda. The council will hear recommendations from the Lake Tahoe Airport Commission as to how the city may offset higher tower operation rates imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Suggestions include urging Douglas and El Dorado counties to split the additional $48,485 the FAA is mandating to run the tower over this fiscal year. The council had already agreed to pay the $18,480 at last month’s meeting, buying it time for federal lawmakers to intervene. Mayor Tom Davis sent letters asking for help to Reps. John Doolittle, R-Rocklin, and Jim Gibbons, R-Reno, and Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev.
Other means of adding money to the city’s coffers will come before the council as it plans to further discuss a measure raising the 7.25 percent sales tax in town. Decisions of what size increase is expected in May.
And for more money matters Tuesday, the City Council may spend $6,650 to meet a cash match of $35,000 on a state grant earmarked to study ways to develop business in town.
The city is hoping business will pick up at Bijou Community Park in possibly agreeing to rent space to a concessionaire at a stand near the skateboard park. Resident Daniel Chavez has expressed interest.
Running a food stand at the park has proven difficult. One hasn’t existed since 2000.
– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at email@example.com