Rezoning sought for affordable housing |

Rezoning sought for affordable housing

Proponents of a disabled affordable housing project in the Gardner Mountain area are hoping to rezone the 3-acre parcel they purchased earlier this year.

Accessible Space Inc., located in St. Paul, Minn., submitted an application to the city of South Lake Tahoe to allow for an 18-unit, $2.7 million project between 10th and 13th streets, adjacent to Emerald Bay Road. The Tahoe Area Coordinating Council for the Disabled is co-sponsoring the project.

“This type of housing is what we do,” said Matt Crellin, director of real estate for Accessible Space Inc. “We plan to do the best we can to build a quality product. There are still uncertainties about the funding, but we are going at it one step at a time, doing what it takes to develop our housing project.”

Accessible Space Inc. 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 around since it now has ownership of the proposed site.

“It’s a real plus on the application to have site control,” Crellin said. The property was purchased for $160,000.

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

South Lake Tahoe, pending City Council approval, will then apply for $1 million in state funding for the project, also this fall, said Patrick Conway, housing coordinator for the city.

Public hearings on the project spawned considerable debate during the last year. Some residents argued the project would ruin the scenic corridor while others said the community has a definite need for the project.

Accessible Space Inc., not the city, is applying for the zoning change as requested during a public workshop last January.

“We have, of course, attended meetings last year, and I think we’ve listened to the people,” Crellin said. “Our application for the (zoning change) I think addresses many of the concerns, and we’ll continue to listen as the process unfolds.”

The zoning change would not limit the property to an affordable housing project.

The City Council and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board would both need to approve the zoning change before an application could be accepted by the planning department.

A public hearing will be held on the zoning change Sept. 12 at the regularly scheduled Planning Commission meeting and again at the City Council meeting on Oct. 2. Both meetings will be held at City Council chambers, 1900 Lake Tahoe Blvd. The TRPA has not yet scheduled a hearing date.

The property as zoned now allows for a limited number of single family homes or a school; a church or outdoor recreation center are among projects that could be considered if applied for, according to the plan area statement.

The environmental documentation is available for review at the city planning department (542-6020) during the public comment period that began Monday and will continue through August 28.

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