Parking lot denied |

Parking lot denied

Robert Stern

The South Tahoe Redevelopment Agency denied Michael Phillips, owner of Ski Run Marina, a deal to lease the Blue Lakes parking lot for $1 last week.

Phillips leased the property for $1 last year and $2 two years ago, but now agency members are looking for more money, saying $1 is not enough money for a property the Redevelopment Agency spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on five years ago.

“We can not allow it to be used for $1 a year,” said Councilwoman Brooke Laine. “I have felt that way since the beginning, and I stand firm on that today.”

The property was bought for the Blue Lake Hotel, which had tourist accommodation units needed for Park Avenue Redevelopment. As a result, the hotel was demolished.

“I think this is a land use issue, and from my point of view, it should not be used as a parking lot,” said Councilman Bill Crawford.

The 45-car lot, located on the corner of Ski Run Boulevard and Paradise Avenue, a few blocks from the Ski Run Marina, is used by all the tenants including Riva Grill and Hornblower Cruises. All of the tenants have been competing for parking spaces, which are in limited supply.

“Local customers are reluctant to come to Ski Run Marina, because there is an obvious parking shortage,” said David Marsh, general manager of The Riva Grill.

There is some confusion among agency members because of an alleged agreement in which the agency is required to provide parking for the Marina, said Councilwoman Judy Brown.

“Supposedly, there is a commitment that no one can find in writing that the city would provide parking for Ski Run Marina,” she said.

Last year Phillips charged customers $3 for parking on holidays and Saturdays. The year before parking was free.

The most recent proposal requested the ability to charge for parking in the Blue Lake lot but did not specify how much or on what days. The proposal stated that Hornblower cruises needed to charge for parking as a condition of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency permit, which is needed for a water shuttle service it hopes to start.

Councilman Tom Davis said he is confident the situation would be resolved and suggests the agency should receive 10 percent of the net profit for the duration of the lease.

“This will be a short term solution for the summer, and we’re looking for a long-term fix also,” he said.

An agency subcommittee consisting of Laine and Mayor Hal Cole will meet with Phillips to discuss solutions this week, Laine said. The issue will then be brought back to the agency for approval at a future date.

Parking at the Blue Lake lot, until any solutions can be worked out, will be free.

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