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Prime property for sale

Open space rambles over hills and meadows all around Lake Tahoe. But rarely do large pieces go on sale in the public arena. That’s what makes two parcels totaling 80 acres off Pioneer Trail near the outskirts of Montgomery Estates special.

“It’s a little bit unusual in that something like this goes up for public sale,” said Frank Ruacho, president of the South Lake Tahoe Board of Realtors. “Large parcels usually go to the conservancy or are donated (for public use).”

An example is last year’s transfer of the 190-acre Sunset Ranch to the California Tahoe Conservancy, which was done without a public sale.



News about the 80 acres with a price tag of $3 million being on the market is spreading fast, according to real estate agent Dave Sexton with Caldwell Banker McKinney & Associates who is handling the property for its owner. Sexton typically lets other agents in the region know about certain properties on the market.

“What’s unique is that everybody seems to know about this property already,” he said.



Due to environmental restrictions mandated by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, large parcels cannot be turned into profitable developments.

In other words, only those with an interest in open space need look.

The two parcels, 50 acres and 30 acres, are zoned residential but not subdividable. Restrictions allow only two structures per parcel.

Thirty years ago, when the owner purchased the property, it could be subdivided.

Now the owner, a multi-millionaire living in Beverly Hills, has been advised by lawyers to sell off some of his 200 to 250 parcels.

“He’s approximately 90 years old and owns property all over the West,” Sexton said.

Records in the county assessors office identify the owner as Harold Edelstein. He purchased the property in 1967.

Sexton has received “innumerable” calls about the property that butts up to the Golden Bear Subdivision but no offers as yet.

Serious private buyers are interested in the parcels for the seclusion, Sexton said.

However, the open space and coverage allowance make it a prime piece for public buyers such as the Conservancy, which has also shown an interest, Sexton said.

Bruce Eisner, the programs manager for acquisitions for the California Tahoe Conservancy, would not comment on that specific property but did say that “conceptually” it’s what they look for.

“If it has some sensitivity to it and could serve as wildlife habitat or has a (stream environment zone), the conservancy would take a look at it,” he said.

Another selling point to the Conservancy is whether land coverage can be “banked.”

Coverage allowances, determined by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, can be set aside for use elsewhere and the original lot left undeveloped.

The Conservancy manages the coverage bank for the TRPA.

“The TRPA collects thousands of dollars in excess coverage mitigation fees,” Eisner said. “The Conservancy uses the fees to buy and retire coverage.

“People are allowed to move forward with projects (that use more coverage than normally allowable on that property) due to the fees paid.”

The 80 acres includes much more allowable coverage than is practical, even for a private buyer with deep pockets.

That residential coverage could be purchased for use in more practical projects around the area.

“The Conservancy land bank provides options to someone who wants to add coverage to their site,” Eisner said.

The property itself would be managed by the Conservancy for open space protection and water quality management.

On the other hand, a private buyer would have a lot of open space, too – a large piece of the Tahoe Basin to call home and for only $3 million.


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