Recovery center looks ahead to new home |

Recovery center looks ahead to new home

Gregory Crofton

Sierra Recovery Center has approval from the city and now the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to move its operation from Tallac Avenue to the Sandor Chateau on Emerald Bay Road.

The move required special zoning changes, but it will allow the center to own its offices and avoid high rent that would likely have forced the drug and alcohol rehabilitation center out of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

“I’m extremely excited,” said Betsy Fedor, executive director of the Sierra Recovery Center for the last five years. “We had so much community support to make this happen.

“Things have really changed in this community. People have really grasped this whole concept and realized it is so needed instead of pretending there isn’t a problem.”

Fedor said there is still a lot of work to be done to make sure the move happens. The center is still in negotiation to buy the motel property. Fedor said she has secured a $700,000 loan to finance the deal, about $140,000 of which would be used to remodel the motel so it could provide transitional housing for up to 14 people.

“The remodel is going to cost more than that,” Fedor said. “We’re hoping the community can pull together and help in some way, like contractors donating their time.”

Work on a community plan for the “Y” area, which includes the Sandor Chateau, is under way. The center has agreed to sell the motel property and move to different location, if, within a few years, the social service/residential use facility is deemed to be inappropriate under the community plan.

In other action last week, the TRPA Governing Board:

— Approved an increase in development fees that allows the agency to recover the cost of doing an assortment of survey work that can be required before a property owner develops land.

The fee to challenge a land classification that determines how much of a parcel can be developed increased from about $400 to more than $1,500. The cost to determine the amount of land that can be developed on a parcel increased from about $200 to $540. The fee to determine how much of the property is already considered to be developed went up from $350 to $670.

Fee changes made for the Individual Parcel Evaluation System (IPES) – a point system that determines if a vacant lot can be built on – are a little different. The cost of an initial IPES evaluation increased from about $200 to $720, but the appeal of an IPES score decreased from nearly $1,400 to about $1,000.

— Approved three pier projects. In May, the Governing Board decided to defer the review of pier projects until the agency adopts new building regulations for the shorezone of Lake Tahoe. But as part of its decision to defer the pier projects, the Governing Board agreed to review projects already turned into the agency as part of a “Pier Day” at its August board meeting.

Three out of about 10 pier projects applicants decided to take advantage of the board’s offer. The people who decided to wait will be first in line to have their projects reviewed under the new rules.

— Approved an agreement that involves a $45,000 fine to settle violations that stem from 13 buoys being in lake without permission. The Chambers Landing Homeowners’ Association, which is on the West Shore between Homewood and Tahoma, agreed to pay the fine after the TRPA threatened sue the association for ignoring two orders to keep the buoys out of the lake while permits for the buoys were being processed.

— Approved nearly $46,000 in water quality funds to help finance an erosion control project on Kahle Drive. The TRPA has so far provided more than $333,000 to the project. The money is drawn from development fees collected by the agency to help treat stormwater before it reaches Lake Tahoe.

— Approved $325,000 in water quality funds for two projects being pursued by South Lake Tahoe: on-going drainage improvements for Gardner Mountain near Glorene Street; and a bike trail/erosion control project to be constructed on Lyons Avenue and Rufus Allen Boulevard. The money – $250,000 for the Gardner Mountain project, and $75,000 for the Lyons Avenue project – is needed by the city because the cost of constructing the projects is higher than anticipated.

– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at

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