Redevelopment impact report will get a look from city |

Redevelopment impact report will get a look from city

Michael Schneider

A public hearing will be held tonight before the South Lake Tahoe City Council and Planning Commission to consider the Redevelopment Project 3 final Environmental Impact Report.

The report, completed June 29 by Balloffet & Associates, had its first draft circulated for public comment from January 30 though April 6.

Project 3 is a state line area redevelopment project scheduled to begin in spring 2000. It would demolish existing properties totaling nearly 20 acres encompassing the area from U.S. Highway 50 to Cedar Avenue, and from Stateline Avenue to Park Avenue.

The Stardust Lodge would not be torn down. It has numerous owners and acquisition would be costly. An adjacent area between Cedar and Manzanita Avenues would also be part of the project.

The project would be constructed in three components, called Projects A, B and C.

Project A, the big chunk of the overall project, would include a 100,000-square-foot public convention center and a 532-room hotel. It would be built on the corner of Stateline Avenue and the highway across from the Embassy Suites Hotel.

A pedestrian tunnel under Stateline Avenue connecting the center to Harveys Resort Hotel/Casino is also part of the project.

Project B would be a four-story, 177-unit hotel and retail and restaurant building.

Project C would be two buildings at Highway 50 and Park Avenue. It would contain a day-care center and retail shopping.

Also a part of the proposed project is the Lake Passage.

It would consist of a miniature replica of Lake Tahoe and a network of pedestrian paths that connect with exhibits explaining the natural history of the Tahoe Basin. An underground tunnel would connect the passage with the proposed gondola leading to Heavenly Ski Resort.

After the release of the first environmental impact draft, several organizations reviewed the report and commented to Rick Angelocci, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency chief of project review.

Other members of the TRPA, the Lahontan Water Quality Board, the Nevada Division of State Lands, the Nevada Division of Forestry, the South Tahoe Public Utility District, and the League to Save Lake Tahoe were among those who submitted comments on the report.

Jeff Cutler, assistant executive director of the League, wrote to Angelocci complaining of increased nutrient flows into Lake Tahoe from the increase of grass as part of the project.

“The proposed mitigation, which allows nitrogen loading to increase by 25 percent, is inadequate on its face,” Cutler said.

Cutler said the major justification for permitting projects that will increase visitation to Lake Tahoe is that the new facilities will improve the water quality of the lake.

“Any increase in nutrients is a significant impact which must be mitigated,” Cutler said.

The plan in the original impact draft called for slow-growing grass which could be replaced with native grass or other slow-growing vegetation.

The final draft contained stronger language with groundwater monitoring and penalties for increasing nitrate levels.

The project now can only use organic fertilizers. If, after 12 months, the nitrate levels have not receded below the acceptable levels, 50 percent of the non-native landscaping will be removed and replaced with native vegetation and all use of fertilizer would be prohibited.

Wednesday, the final impact draft will go before TRPA governing board for a public hearing.

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