One last challenge for senior plaza |

One last challenge for senior plaza

Michael Schneider

Except for building permits, the Tahoe Senior Plaza has one final hurdle to clear before construction begins June 1 – the city’s Planning Commission.

The commission meets at 6 p.m. today to consider approval of the project with less parking spaces than are normally required for a 45-unit development.

Housing Coordinator Patrick Conway said there would likely be enough space for the nearly 70 spaces that the city normally requires, but there is no need for that much space with the senior plaza.

The recommendation to the Planning Commission will be to approve the development with only 45 parking spaces.

“Studies say that’s overkill,” Conway said of one-and-a-half spaces for each unit at the plaza. “These are one-bedroom units, most of which will contain one individual.”

Conway said the housing authority has taken names of those who want to live in the complex, but those interested still must complete a formal application process.

The plaza will be developed by American Baptist Homes of the West after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development granted a request for $3.5 million in capital advance grant funds last summer. HUD also awarded the project a five-year rental subsidy in the amount of $669,500, which can be used to push down rents for lower-income dwellers.

The building will cater to seniors’ special needs by including an elevator, access to all amenities from inside the building, widened doorways, walkways and bathrooms, safety grab bars, wheelchair-accessable kitchens and lower light switches.

The plaza, which will be built at the corner of Third Street and Jean Avenue, first drew criticism from neighbors until the city decided to make it senior housing and not family housing.

“I think they’re comfortable with the project,” Conway said of the neighbors.

The city also will contribute $1.04 million to the project.

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