Washoe commissioners to hear appeal of Tahoe Biltmore redevelopment

Staff Report

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Washoe County commissioners on Tuesday are expected to hear an appeal of the Board of Adjustment’s approval of a special use permit for the redevelopment of the Tahoe Biltmore property in Crystal Bay.

The public hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. at 1001 E. 9th St., Building A, in Reno. The meeting can also be streamed online on Washoe County television channel 193, but it won’t be streamed on Zoom.

There are three appellants, the North Tahoe Preservation Alliance represented by Ann Nichols, Incline Village resident Doug Flaherty and Granite Place Owners Association represented by Justin Townsend.

The board may affirm, reverse or modify the Board of Adjustment’s decision. The board’s analysis may also include whether there is standing to bring the appeal in the first place. If the Board modifies or reverses, it may remand the matter back to the Board of Adjustment with instructions.

The applicant, EKN Development Group, applied for a permit for major grading of the project site and connecting roads to prepare for redevelopment of the former Tahoe Biltmore property. EKN plans to excavate 197,500 cubic yards of material and 42,000 cubic yards of fill material and exportation of 155,500 cubic yards of material.

The Board of Adjustment approved the special use permit on Feb. 3, but the appellants have appealed based on various concerns.

The North Tahoe Preservation Alliance said in its appeal that, among other things, the current project is substantially different than the plan that was previously approved in 2011, that the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency has not approved changes, the county does not have an active agreement with TRPA authorizing jurisdiction and the issuance of a permit may be detrimental to public health, safety and welfare to neighbors and surrounding community.

Flaherty is concerned about his health if the project doesn’t have a proper environmental review which includes traffic, infrastructure, noise, air quality and public safety, including emergency evacuation. His appeal says he will be adversely affected by “years of cumulative major grading, dust, noise and air pollution and travel delays.”

GPOA, a nonprofit association of owners of the 18 condominiums located at 1 Big Water Drive in Crystal Bay contends that the original decision to abandon Reservoir Road and replace it with Wellness Way was granted without input from Granite Place or consideration of impact on Granite Place; (2)The physical boundaries of Granite Place have not yet been finalized, and the developer owes a deed to Granite Place outlining the boundaries and the association’s common areas; and (3) The original plan for Boulder Bay development was approved more than a decade ago, did not include Wellness Way, and changed circumstances in the housing market, traffic, and other affected realms in the intervening years should be reevaluated.

The BOA on Feb. 3 at a public hearing approved the permit unanimously with four commissioners voting to approve and none against, according to the agenda.

The approval were based on findings that the proposed use is consistent with the Master Plan and Tahoe Area Plan; that adequate facilities road improvements and other necessary facilities have been provided, that the site is suitable for major grading; that it will not be significantly detrimental to public health, safety or welfare or detrimental to the character of the surrounding area.

The proposed abandonment and variance for the land was originally applied for on Feb. 8, 2021, before being amended on April 8 that same year.

The approved redevelopment has always required that the access roads be improved and constructed, and the action since has been taken over by EKN in September as a part of their overall development.

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