Treatment center decision postponed, senior housing gets green light | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Treatment center decision postponed, senior housing gets green light

Susan Wood

Location. Location. Location.

After postponing to probably June 1 a controversial request to change zoning at the “Y” to accommodate Sierra Recovery Center, the South Lake Tahoe City Council gave the green light Tuesday to alter zoning that would allow for a senior housing project on Herbert Avenue.

The zoning change and environmental go-ahead was approved on a 4-0 vote, with Councilman Hal Cole absent during the afternoon.

The city Planning Commission last week approved the latter but denied the former.

Staff recommended approval of the senior housing project proposal, with modifications required to address issues ranging from traffic upgrades to transportation access.

The city also unanimously approved earmarking $55,000 of low- to moderate-income housing funds for the venture.

There is no formal project submitted yet for Pleasanton-based American Baptist Homes of the West’s idea for a 32-unit, low-income complex on three-acre parcel at 1447 Herbert Ave. It’s contingent on Tahoe Regional Planning Agency approval.

But ABHOW Vice President Ancel Romero said he expects the company – which built the 45-unit Tahoe Senior Plaza on Third Street – to start construction next May.

In the meantime, the council urged ABHOW to involve the neighbors in the planning process. Many came to the council meeting to express opposition. Their issues with the project include: the slope, size of the complex, wildlife and perceived spot zoning that may set a precedent in other sections of the city. Dangerous traffic problems at Herbert Avenue and Pioneer Trail dominated the session.

“I don’t know how many of you have lived with the elderly, but they don’t manage hills very well,” Carol Roth said.

But given the five- to seven-year waiting list at Tahoe Senior Plaza, Warr Road neighbor and longtime resident Brooke Laine threw her whole-hearted support behind the project.

“I think change is most often what people react to,” Laine said, adding her children’s play area could even be effected if the project is built.

As a small business owner, Laine reiterated the bulk of sentiment that the Tahoe work force is being driven out by high property values and rents.

“We need housing in this community – that’s affordable or not,” she said.

Bijou park discussed for city office location

Sheltering city offices at Bijou Community Park was also discussed Tuesday, with the council weighing in on consolidating departments and escaping high rent at council chambers at 1900 Lake Tahoe Blvd. Its lease absorbs about $130,000 annually and expires February 2006.

The council voted 4-0 to change the planning documents for the park if necessary. Other options will be considered.

Sites formerly discussed have been the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce building and the Lake Tahoe Airport.

With an estimated cost of $4 million, building a city hall at Bijou would require altering the disc golf course and cutting down trees for starters.

The city considers the park area “underutilized.”

“Whatever site is chosen, we will hear a myriad issues of why we shouldn’t,” City Manager Dave Jinkens told the council in his introductory proposal.

Longtime resident Marjorie Springmeyer said she was shocked by the idea of how to use the land where generations of her family lived and donated.

– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at swood@tahoedailytribune.com


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