Planning Commission approves rezoning for affordable housing |

Planning Commission approves rezoning for affordable housing

Robert Stern

The South Lake Tahoe Planning Commission last week unanimously recommended the rezoning of 3 acres on Emerald Bay Road, which could allow for mutli-family affordable housing.

“We do have a pressing need and almost a crisis situation with affordable housing,” said Patrick Frega, planning commissioner.

Proponents for an 18-unit disabled affordable housing project are hoping to get the property rezoned so they can build a facility next year, but several hurdles still exist.

“We are hopeful that we will get approved this year and can build next year,” said David Kelly, president for the Tahoe Area Coordinating Council.

For the project to occur, the rezoning still needs to be approved by several agencies and a separate project application would also need to be approved.

Accessible Space Inc., located in St. Paul, Minn., in conjunction with the Tahoe Area Coordinating Council for the Disabled, hopes to build an 18-unit, $2.7 million affordable housing project for the disabled on Emerald Bay Road between 10th and 13th streets.

But even if rezoning is approved by the City Council and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, funding could still be an issue.

Accessible Space was denied $1.7 million in federal grant funding for the project last year. But it hopes to score more competitively on the application this time, since it now owns the proposed site.

Accessible Space is expected to get a response this fall on the federal funding.

The city of South Lake Tahoe, pending City Council project approval, would then apply for $1 million in state funding for the project.

The zoning change would not limit the property to an affordable housing project. The proposed change, however, would allow for such a project.

The project has caused considerable controversy in the community. Some fear it would detract from the scenic corridor and others insist it is necessary for the community. If the project is approved, a community board would be formed to give input on the design of the structure.

Several groups appeared at the Planning Commission meeting to speak on the issue both for and against the project – others simply asked questions and voiced concerns over design and setbacks.

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