Stateline condominium project brought back to Tahoe planning board
KINGS BEACH – After being denied by Lake Tahoe’s planning authority twice in two years, a proposal to build condominiums at Stateline is trying for a third consideration.
The project, which sits on 18 undeveloped acres adjacent to Burke Creek in Stateline, failed in two previous considerations by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency when the discovery of Native American artifacts were found on the property and environmental concerns went unresolved.
This time, developer Jim Borelli is proposing a new and separate project from the original South Shore Estates, which was introduced in 1998 and called for detached single-family dwellings. The new Stonewood Condominium proposal includes 26 two-story units to be built in five groups along with tennis courts, a pool, spa and playground.
Borelli plans to address the board’s concerns in an Environmental Impact Statement, a comprehensive study that calls for public scrutiny in draft assessments and final statements.
A hearing on the scope of the environmental document Wednesday turned up requests from California’s Attorney General’s office, the Sierra Club, Friends of Burke Creek and the League to Save Lake Tahoe to deeply explore water quality effects that may be induced by the development.
Dave Roberts, assistant executive director of the League to Save Lake Tahoe, said the proximity of the condominiums to Burke Creek could prove harmful to Lake Tahoe’s water clarity, which is already considered to be threatened by existing urban development.
“This project and other, similar projects have the potential to degrade Lake Tahoe’s water quality,” Roberts said. “Because of (the site’s) slope angles and grading, this project is particularly vulnerable to erosion.”
Roberts and the other environmental groups are worried that disturbing the land will send nutrient-rich sediment into the creek which flows into Lake Tahoe less than two miles downstream. The nutrients carried in the runoff foster algae growth, contributing to Lake Tahoe’s monumental problem of fading clarity, which has been declining at the rate of more than one foot each year.
Gary Midkiff, environmental consultant for the developer, said the statement will present the concerns.
“A broad range of issues have to be addressed and that will be done,” Midkiff said. “We’d prefer to get moving as it will take time and be expensive to prepare an environmental document.”
Midkiff said his client wanted to move forward with an environmental statement after his two previous attempts to build on the land fielded heavy criticism.
The statement, which will be compiled by a TRPA-selected consultant, is a necessary step in getting the project on the board’s agenda for consideration, according to TRPA Senior Planner Paul Nielsen.
“The application is not complete and will not be complete until the EIS is done,” Nielsen told the board.
The 14-member governing board directed staff to develop stepped alternatives that provide options between the proposed 26-unit development to no construction.
Public comment period on the scope of the EIS will close August 23.
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