Editorial: Golf course parking: Maybe the city should walk | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Editorial: Golf course parking: Maybe the city should walk

South Lake Tahoe officials should be commended for their cost-cutting measures and creative spending as of late in a city plagued with less money to work with and more bills to pay.

So it was justifiable that City Manager David Jinkens put his foot down when property owner Knox Johnson demanded taxpayers pay for improvements to the Bijou Golf Course parking lot that it leases from him.

In his comments to the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Johnson, who gets a cut of the golf course profits already, apparently thinks the city of South Lake Tahoe has an expendable bank account and in thinking so shamelessly tells the city to either pay for the improvements he should already be making or abandon the property altogether. He has already has gone so far as to put locks on the parking lot gate.

Johnson told the Tribune: “I think the golf course deserves a public restroom. Somebody has to pay for it. The city needs a better image. I could pay for the improvements, but I want my money back.”

Johnson asking the city to pay for his property improvements is the equivalent of a landlord forcing tenants to pay for a broken heater, water heater or shoddy electrical wiring. Clearly, it is the responsibility of the property owner to assure it remains up to code. Essentially, what Johnson is asking for is taxpayers to foot the bill for improvements to his property. No way.

On Tuesday, the City Council agreed to meet with Johnson one more time in a last ditch effort to negotiate a parking solution. During the process, we encourage the city to keep its budget in check.

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Without the parking lot, though, the city faces a problem with off-road parking along Fairway Avenue. Not only could off-road parking be cumbersome to those who live in the area who must already park off-street, but the issue of off-road parking may be detrimental to sensitive stream zones and meadows on the golf course. Off-road parking causes erosion problems that could further cause damage to those sensitive stream zones.

Clearly the city needs to review other alternatives to parking, including reconfiguring holes to accommodate additional parking. The city should continue to look out for the taxpayers’ best interest in this matter.