TRPA to hear issue of building planned for Sand Harbor |

TRPA to hear issue of building planned for Sand Harbor

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

A nearly $5 million project that will give beachgoers at the East Shore a place to buy things like ice, sunblock or a cold drink is slated for construction this summer.

The more than 5,700-square-foot building planned for Sand Harbor will house a convenience store as well as an interpretive center, which will allow visitors to learn about the history and issues of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Construction of the building and its 5,900-square feet of additional space for decks and patios is considered to be an Environmental Improvement Program project because it improves public access to the lake.

The Governing Board of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is expected to approve the project when it meet at the North Shore on Wednesday.

The building, to be made of heavy timber and stone, will cost about $2.5 million to construct. It will be paid for with state bond money and federal grants.

The project will also involve installation of utilities and a fire suppression upgrade. That work will cost about $2.2 million but it is not expected to begin until summer 2004 because Lake Tahoe Nevada State Parks is still scouting for funding.

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The convenience/learning center could be ready to open as early as spring 2005, said Steve Weaver, chief of planning and development at Nevada State Parks.

While the site is being built, planners anticipate equipment storage will reduce the number of available parking spaces from 550 to about 510. No parking spaces will be added as part of the project, which when finished will cover about .75 acre.

As part of conditions of a permit for the project, the convenience/learning center will not be advertised at the entrance to Sand Harbor.

“The whole facility is designed for people who already use Sand Harbor,” Weaver said.

Sand Harbor is the most popular state park on the Nevada side of the lake, attracting more than 500,000 people each summer, Weaver said. The eight bathrooms already at the park will remain open. In the summer, it costs $6 to park a vehicle at Sand Harbor. From October through April, the parking fee is $3.

In other action expected Wednesday:

n The TRPA Governing Board will confer in a meeting closed to the public to discuss how it will go about hiring an executive director. At last month’s Governing Board meeting, TRPA Executive Director Juan Palma announced his resignation as of April 30.

“As far as I know, I’m still leaving at the end of April,” said Palma, sitting in the agency’s new office on Market Street off Kingsbury Grade that opened for business Monday.

Palma said he may end up staying on the job for an extra month or so if the Governing Board decided to hire his replacement from the TRPA staff. If the board decides to advertise the position to the public, Palma said that process would likely take 3 to 5 months and could lead to an interim executive director taking reigns of the agency after he steps down at the end of April.

Palma has requested a lump sum of $12,983 and six months of paid health insurance as part of his separation package. The cash would come from retirement savings Palma accrued, and a 5 percent salary increase for his $110,000 salary. The raise would be retroactive from July 2002 to April 2003. Palma said he is requesting the increase because he did not get a raise in the 2.5 years he worked at the agency.