Washoe County Commissioners move forward on 1st reading to amend Tahoe Area Plan

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The Washoe County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday moved forward on the first reading of an ordinance to amend Washoe County code and the Tahoe Area Plan in order to allow single-family dwellings in a commercial zone of Incline Village.

The next step will be a second reading before it is fully approved. It will likely be brought to the commissioners again for the second reading and a possible adoption of the ordinance on Jan. 17.

Although District 1 Commissioner Alexis Hill had multiple questions for Washoe County Senior Planner Courtney Weiche regarding the potential need for a special use permit for the project, she overall decided the first reading was the right step forward, with the need to continue to look at affordable and workforce housing in Tahoe in the coming year. 

“I’m going to introduce it for one of many things,” said Hill. “I think it is very difficult to develop multi-family in Incline Village and Crystal Bay. I don’t think I have to explain this to the board or anyone in the community. So I have a hard time requiring even a special use permit because I don’t know what that will do to incentivize multi-family versus still just going through the entitlement process if you want your single family condos.

“I think this board has work to do on both the Tahoe Area Plan amendments and workforce housing and affordable housing in Washoe County, so I look forward to tackling those as a board moving forward and I’m hoping that this board will support that,” Hill added.

Hill noted prior to the board meeting that if someone should appeal the approval by the Planning Commission or the commissioners, there would be a separate process to go through. 

“If approved, it would then go to the TRPA,” said Hill. “At that point it would be sponsored by the county since the county approved it, and it would be a county amendment to go before the TRPA board.” 

The resolution seen first by the Planning Commission was to amend Washoe County Code Chapter 110 (Developmental Code), Article 220 (Tahoe Area), Section 110.220.145, which is the Incline Village Commercial Regulator Zone Special Area 1, to add single family dwellings limited to air space condominiums, as allowed in the area. The amendment would also cover code regarding special policies for the zone. 

The need for an amendment came after developers began working on applications for the 947 Tahoe project, which would see air space condominiums in a space originally outlines for either multi-family or affordable housing. Although the Tahoe Area Plan outlined the space for two types of housing, Hill made it clear that the land is not specifically designated for anything. 

“Just because the Area Plan outlined that it was multi-family only doesn’t mean that it was designated for that,” said Hill. “We don’t have a designation like that in the Area Plan. We’re working on that.” 

Benefits of the amendment include a fulfilled Area Plan vision to increase density in town centers, along with increasing housing opportunities and promoting walkability and biking. 

One of the ways that Hill is looking to designate areas for affordable housing is through work with the Tahoe Prosperity Center, which recently completed a study with the county to discover ways to improve Washoe Tahoe (Incline Village/Crystal Bay) in terms of affordable and workforce housing. 

“We’re working on community outreach and input on these different plan strategies that came out of the needs assessment,” Hill said. “It’s the Washoe Tahoe Housing Roadmap … That will be moving forward in the early part of next year of different policies to change the area plan to incentivize workforce housing.” 

The assessment found that Incline Village and Crystal Bay have become homogenous and a more exclusive community overall. 

“Little to no growth in population, housing units, or jobs has occurred over the past decade,” reads the assessment, “but shifts in resident characteristics show that the community is pushing out young local families and core employees in exchange for older, more affluent families and seniors.” 

The assessment outlines solutions and ways to help the community thrive again, but require more work from the county and Tahoe Prosperity Center before being able to come to fruition. 

Overall, some community members are worried about the precedent it would set to allow single-family residences in a place outlined for workforce housing. Others are excited for new development and change in what seems to be a stagnant district. 

To view the entire meeting, visit

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.