Basin building permits due in Placer County | SierraSun.com

Basin building permits due in Placer County

Kara Fox
Sierra Sun

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunCarpenter Robert Young sets a beam inside a lakeside property on the West Shore. Construction of the property started last summer. Placer county relieved 50 residential building permit allocations for 2007 from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

Residents seeking to build a new home in 2007 on the Placer County side of the Tahoe Basin must have their applications submitted today.

Only 50 residential housing allocations are available for the entire year for Placer County, as determined by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. If the number of applications the county receives exceeds 50, a lottery drawing will be held Jan. 16 to determine who can build this year.

Housing allocations determine the number of homes that can be built on vacant lots in all five jurisdictions in the Tahoe Basin: Placer County, Washoe County, El Dorado County, Douglas County and the city of South Lake Tahoe. The allocation allows residents to start the process of building a home and must be assigned by the end of the year by the county, otherwise TRPA can take them back.

In 2006, Placer County was awarded 49 allocations from TRPA, but the county received 71 applications from residents. The 71 applicants’ names were pooled, and the 49 allocations were awarded through a lottery system. So far, 10 applications have been received by the county for building permits this year.

Bob Reiss, building division manager for the Placer County building department in Tahoe, said the increase in applications last year was due to a scare that a building moratorium would be in place this year because of TRPA’s Pathway 2007 process.

Reiss said many people who received allocations last year purchased homes instead of building a new one, waived their right to the allocation or were not ready to build, so those allocations were given to someone else.

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“We’re in hopes we have enough,” Reiss said. “Our goal is that everyone gets one. We want to do it in a way that is fair. This year so far is looking pretty good.”

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in December approved a total of 200 allocations basin-wide for 2007. El Dorado County received 76 allocations, and South Lake Tahoe, which is in El Dorado County, received another 29 allocations.

Douglas County got 14 and Washoe County received 31 residential allocations.

John Corda, owner of John Corda Construction, said he believes 50 allocations are adequate for Placer County because of the limited number of new lots available. He said there are alternative areas where residents can build homes that have no restrictions, including Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows and Truckee.

“I think all the agencies are doing a good job at protecting the lake,” Corda said. “Fifty [allocations] seems about right.”

The current regional plan allows 6,000 residential building allocations over the 20-year period from 1987 to 2007. After the jurisdictions give out their combined 200 allocations this year, the TRPA will have issued all but 300 of the 6,000 allocations allowed under the regional plan, according to Julie Regan, TRPA’s spokesperson.

The allocations each jurisdiction receives is based on TRPA-adopted criteria, including permit compliance, implementation of environmental improvement program projects, best management practices retrofitting, and transit improvements.

The manner in which TRPA allocations are dispensed and in which the criteria is used in evaluating eligibility was adopted by TRPA several years ago as an interim program.

Until a permanent building allocation program is adopted, architects and contractors in Placer County will continue to go through a lottery system to receive the few allocations the county receives each year.

“It’s just part of the deal,” said Carol Kaufmann, business manager for Laverty Builders Inc. “It’s hard because it adds to the cost of housing. Although there is grumbling, everyone seems to understand that there is a reason for it.”

To apply for a 2007 residential building permit from Placer County:

The Placer County enrollment period began Jan. 2 and will end Jan. 8 at 5 p.m.

Building permit applications must be submitted to the Placer County Building Department, 565 West Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, CA. 96145. All applications must include plans for a buildable site. If the number of applications is greater than the 50 available allocations, a drawing will be held to distribute the allocations Jan. 16 at 10 a.m. at the Tahoe City Public Utility District board room, 221 Fairway Drive, Tahoe City. Questions regarding the allocation process should be directed to the Placer County Building Department at 581-6200.