Planners approve Kingsbury synagogue

Kurt Hildebrand
The Record-Courier

STATELINE, Nev. – What may be the first synagogue in Douglas County was approved by planning commissioners 6-0 on Tuesday.

Planning commissioners approved a permit for a synagogue on Feb. 8, 2022.

Rabbi Mordey Richler has lived at Lake Tahoe for 8.5 years and said the goal of Chabad Lake Tahoe Synagogue at Stateline is to bring light to the area.

As a Hasidic Jew, Richler told planning commissioners that he’s a lamp lighter.

“My wife and I moved to Lake Tahoe to light the lamp and be a beacon of hope to all the residents and visitors,” he said. “I hope to bring this light of hope and love to Douglas County and be a beacon of light to all of Lake Tahoe.”

The approval was not without a little travail, as two other occupants of the Market Street building said there isn’t enough parking to accommodate the use.

Kingsbury General Improvement District Manager Mitch Dion said that the parking study was skewed by the coronavirus outbreak.

The district has occupied half of the Market Street building for eight years and plans to remain at the site.

Dion said that due to COVID the office has adjusted its hours, but there have been a dozen times over the last year when they’ve had people in the building all night long.

“We haven’t seen the sidewalk on Market Street since October,” he said.

The owners of interior designers Talie Jane Interiors also opposed the approval.

Ryan and Natalie Schiestel said there are a half-dozen people in their office. Under county code four parking spaces are required given the size of the business.

Under the approval, the synagogue must obtain an agreement for off-site parking for weekday special events during working hours.

Planning commissioners said they believed that the problems with parking are endemic to the Tahoe Basin and not just the site on Kingsbury Grade.

Assistant Planning Manager Sam Booth said the site is zoned tourist commercial, which is why the synagogue required a special use permit.

“There are uses that would be permitted by right, like a bar or a restaurant,” he said. “I think there are some parking issues on site, but they are not caused by this applicant.”

Planning Commission Chairwoman Maureen Casey said she felt the use was compatible.

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