Guest column: SnowGlobe — an event that needs a home (opinion)
January 20, 2019
SnowGlobe 2018 is now in the books. There have been some successes as well as some difficulties.
This year saw the introduction of professional sound engineers to help reduce the sound and new field protection to prevent further damage to our new play fields. The sound is reported to have been improved for many, though the people who live nearest this event in Pioneer Village, along the Bijou Meadow, around Johnson Lane and in Sierra Tract continue to be bombarded by three days of sound.
The city agreed to measure the sound this year as required by multiple community plans as well as their contract with SnowGlobe. It remains to be seen if the field protection worked and whether they will require repairs or not.
We now know that the sound definitively violates the sound restrictions defined in both the Bijou/Al Tahoe Community Plan and the Sierra Tract Area Plan, which were jointly written by the city and the TRPA. It also violates the El Dorado County noise limits for those living outside of city limits.
These violations have arguably been happening since the first year of the event given this is the first year the event has been measured to the regulations and the sound this year was specifically engineered to reduce noise.
The city and the TRPA are reported to be discussing this reality and may seek to modify the existing Community Plans rather than enforce them. Residents should pay attention to this possibility and be prepared to act to either defend these limits or allow the event to continue in its current form, assuming the city seeks to extend or renew the contract with SnowGlobe.
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Continuing this event in the current location is not the only option — there are other nearby venues that could be used to continue the event and keep the economic benefits.
The SnowGlobe event does bring visitors and money to town. It does contain revelers to a fenced area that has on-site security and medical services. It is a large event for our town, but it has location and noise issues.
Police reports indicate that some roads were impassable to police and emergency services as people filled our town. Motel prices hit all-time highs and arguably make our town appear to be a very expensive place to visit rather than being a family friendly, cost effective get-away from the Bay Area.
Despite efforts to keep Stateline open to traffic, 5,000-6,000 partiers filled the streets and further impacted the ability of our local police and emergency services.
Has South Lake Tahoe hit the limits for visitors given our infrastructure, emergency services and the capacity of our roads? This will be the question for the City Council as this event seeks to continue.
Our group, the No Globe Alliance, has been actively seeking to modify, move or eliminate this event if problems remain unsolved. Given the possible economic benefits and the proactive work done by SnowGlobe, continuing this event should be given consideration.
This year they tried to modify the event and were somewhat successful, but noise continued to be above the established requirements for multiple regulations and continued to bombard people's homes. Moving the event may be easier than continuing to try to make this round peg fit in a square hole.
Residents deserve to have peace in their own homes instead of being encouraged to leave during one of our busiest work weeks of the year. We strongly ask all parties to look for other options and consider moving the event to a more appropriate venue.
Scott Ramirez submitted this column on behalf of the No Globe Alliance, a group of South Lake Tahoe residents organized to relocate, modify or eliminate SnowGlobe.
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