Washoe to conduct EA on new center
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency has given its blessing to the Washoe Cultural Center.
The TRPA board agreed to require only an environmental assessment rather than an environmental impact statement, a decision that will save money and time.
“An environmental impact statement is a much larger review by other organizations,” said Lyn Barnett, senior planner with TRPA’s Project Review Division. “The environmental assessment will be prepared by the Forest Service, and the same issues will be looked at.”
According to Barnett, if there are any environmental problems, a more comprehensive environmental impact statement still could be required.
The planned site for the new Washoe Cultural Center is between Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe on Cathedral Road near Taylor Creek. An alternative site, which will also be studied, is just between the USFS visitors center and Kiva Beach on the other side of Highway 89.
The center will include a 4,500-square-foot building with an outdoor amphitheater, courtyard, caretaker’s residence, trail system and creekside observation deck nearby.
The Forest Service and the Washoe tribe also plan to construct walkways, landscape the area, provide new systems to treat runoff water, provide landscaping of the nearby abandoned gravel pit, and adding site and water system improvements.
A TRPA permit issued in the early 1980s expired before any construction was initiated.
Ultimately, if the permit is granted, there will be three years to construct the center and the special-use permit will cover the 80 acres for a 20-year term.
The new center will be open to the public from May to June and for special events and visitors during the off season.
Currently, the Forest Service will work on the environmental assessment, while members of the Washoe tribe continue to work on securing the funds for the project.
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