Owners have plans for Little Norway
The new owner of Little Norway has big plans for the old, abandoned inn and cafe near Echo Summit off U.S. Highway 50.
And it appears Arlene Haber, 43, of Santa Cruz, may have a big job ahead of her to get the dilapidated building and property operational and ready for occupancy.
The structure, unoccupied for a decade, burned in April 1991.
Last August, Haber and co-owner, boyfriend Bruce Mitchell of the San Francisco Bay Area, bought the 2.3 acres for $90,000.
Haber, who also owns a home in Virginia City, Nev., secured a permit from the El Dorado County Building Department to put a roof on the second-story floor and has frequented the property in her Winnebago camper to clean up and assess what to do with the site.
Haber plans on keeping the Little Norway name and intends to turn the place into a three-room inn, restaurant, bar and recreational area, but she’s also open to other suggestions from the community, she said.
Haber is also working with the county environmental health department, which is evaluating the soil for contamination from underground storage tanks since removed. The property was once a gasoline station site, too.
Apparently, the former owner – the Estate of Larry Taylor – is responsible for the soil cleanup. The estate’s Attorney Michael Graham was unavailable for comment.
“I want to take the building as it exists, then fix it, then build other parts to Little Norway,” the anthropologist said, adding she’s a dreamer who likes fixer-uppers.
Before she can turn the dream into a reality, Haber will need a building permit to conduct the remodeling job and to renew a special-use permit from the county planning department, building Operations Supervisor Larry Lohman said.
The building has been posted as a “nuisance.” The distinction doesn’t make the structure dangerous, but Lohman said Haber should try to keep people out of it.
“In my point of view, there’s not much to do. But everybody thinks it’s a big to-do,” Haber said, referring to rough negotiations with El Dorado County in trying to follow through with her plans.
“I don’t have an opinion what she chooses to do (with the property) as long as the building is safe,” Lohman said.
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