TRPA final word on Kingsbury synagogue
STATELINE, Nev. — Douglas County’s first synagogue won’t be entirely approved by Chanukah, but it could be by January 2023.
On Thursday, Sept. 1, Douglas County commissioners approved an ordinance change that removed a requirement religious organizations seek a permit in the Kingsbury mixed use zoning district.
Chabad at Lake Tahoe hosted an outdoor grand opening celebration at its Kingsbury Grade location on Aug. 21.
Changing the matrix governing the commercial district on the west slope of Kingsbury will require approval from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Deputy District Attorney Sam Taylor said that isn’t expected until January 2023.
The effort to establish the first synagogue in county history will take about a year that included some ups and downs.
Planning commissioners approved the use in the building at 255 Kingsbury Grade in February over the objections of the other tenants citing parking. After the approval, the Chabad purchased the building for $2.5 million.
Tenants Blue Sky Events and Talie Jane Interiors appealed the permit approval to the county commission.
On April 14, county commissioners voted 3-2 to overturn the planning commission’s action. However, three weeks later commissioners reversed that denial and voted on May 5 to approve the permit.
One of the concerns county staff found while doing the research on the requirements was that membership organizations are allowed by right in the zoning, while religious organizations were required to obtain a permit.
Officials said they saw very little difference between the two uses, which might raise the issue that the code discriminates against religious organizations, something that would violate federal law.
In June, the operators of the two shops filed a petition for judicial review for reconsideration of the May 5 approval. Taylor said the ordinance change should be sufficient to render that challenge moot.
Another tenant of the building, the Kingsbury General Improvement District has raised concerns about the parking issues, as well.
Trustee Natalie Yanish said she hoped that the county and the district could collaborate to help ease the congestion.
“That’s been our major concern,” she said. “Both the current use and some large events on Market Street.”
For more information about the Chabad, visit jewishtahoe.com/tahome or call 530-539-4363.
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