Nevada projects moving as planned
It is unlikely demolition of dilapidated apartments on Kahle Drive or construction of a Round Hill time-share and a Kingsbury Grade affordable housing complex will happen this building season, said Lew Feldman, a representative of the projects’ proponents.
However, except for the minor delay in work, Feldman said, the interrelated Douglas County projects – having earlier this year gained approval from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency – are moving forward without incident.
There is only a small piece of the puzzle left, but it is one that could prove as controversial as the other projects, some of which packed unhappy residents into TRPA board meetings.
Together, the projects are supposed to result in the demolition of Kahle Drive’s 187-unit Lake Park Apartments and construction of stormwater treatment basins in its place, a 138-unit time-share in Round Hill and a 64-unit affordable housing complex near Kingsbury Grade. Project proponents hoped to start work on the buildings this year; construction of the stormwater basins cannot begin until all of the Kahle Drive apartments are razed, which is at least two more building seasons.
The new affordable housing complex, Lake Vista Apartments, is to be built to offset the number of lost residential units at the Lake Park Apartments. However, controversy stemmed from the fact that the Lake Park Apartments have 187-units while the new apartment complex will hold only 64 units. The current apartments are not designated affordable housing, but many of the residents likely are low-income families. Some people expressed concern that the displaced residents would have trouble finding housing.
At the March meeting of TRPA’s governing board, project planners agreed to find more affordable housing for the residents. If none was available in Douglas County, they would try to build new or rehabilitate old affordable housing in South Lake Tahoe.
A problem is that there is virtually no place in the Douglas portion of Tahoe zoned to allow affordable housing. The only plausible scenario is building on a 9-acre parcel in Round Hill belonging to Falcon Capital LLC, the company planning the Round Hill time-share.
However, while a mansion or a mobile home park could be built there, multiple-family dwellings aren’t allowed. It will take a change to TRPA’s urban boundary regulation before an affordable housing project could go there.
Falcon has applied to change the urban boundary, and that likely will go before TRPA in a few months. No specific project will be formulated unless TRPA approves the boundary change.
In addition to expected opposition to the idea of building affordable housing, the urban boundary change is an action both the League to Save Lake Tahoe and California Attorney General’s Office are opposed to. They view the urban boundary as an important TRPA tool for controlling development and, consequently, helping to protect the clarity of Lake Tahoe.
A “fair-share” affordable housing study conducted in 1996 revealed that the Douglas portion of Tahoe had a shortage of about 1,400 affordable housing units. TRPA’s board in June approved the Lake Vista Apartments, which, if built, will become the first 64 units of affordable housing in the basin part of the county.
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