Boulder Bay delay: Hearing on North Tahoe redevelopment postponed again
CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. and#8212; The much-anticipated Tahoe Regional Planning Agency hearing related to an environmental analysis of the proposed Tahoe Biltmore redevelopment project will be delayed for the second consecutive month, officials announced Wednesday.
and#8220;TRPA received a request yesterday afternoon from the applicants for the Boulder Bay project to reschedule the hearings to a later date in order to firm up some important items,and#8221; said TRPA Spokesman Jeff Cowen in a Wednesday afternoon press release.
The delay means the Dec. 8 meeting of the TRPA’s advisory planning council will be canceled, Cowen said, and the Dec. 15 meeting of the governing board will only be one day at the agency’s offices in Stateline.
Phone calls placed to Boulder Bay representatives were not immediately returned for this story.
The TRPA governing board could have voted whether to approve the Final Environmental Impact Statement and#8212; a document prepared by an outside agency that attempts to assess the environmental impacts of the project.
and#8220;The Boulder Bay representatives requested the postponement in response to requests to allow maximum opportunity for public input and to hold further discussions with stakeholders,and#8221; Cowen said.
Cowen said the rescheduled date for the hearing is not currently known, but is expected to take place in early 2011.
The governing board was originally scheduled to hear the item at its Nov. 17 meeting in Incline Village; at the time, Brian Helm, project manager for Boulder Bay, said the decision to postpone was because there would not be a full contingent of board members present for the November meeting.
The redevelopment project’s preferred option is to erect a 300-room hotel with a 10,000 square-foot casino, 59 whole-ownership units, a spa and other amenities, while also addressing outdated environmental concerns at the Tahoe Biltmore site.
Developers officially unveiled a form of the project in November 2007 after Boulder Bay purchased the Biltmore, the Crystal Bay Hotel and a handful of surrounding properties, including the vacant site of the Mariner Hotel, in June 2007.
Over the course the next three years, the project’s design has undergone numerous changes in response to much community and TRPA feedback, the end result being the Sept. 9, 2010, release of the project’s FEIS, a massive document that addresses potential ecological impacts.
The FEIS analysis was paid for by Boulder Bay, managed by TRPA and prepared by Hauge Brueck Associates.
Controversy has swirled around the project’s proposed height and traffic study, with local environmental groups arguing the scope of the proposed project will increase the amount of private automobiles in the area, as well as set a precedent for extreme vertical growth around Lake Tahoe.
Project supporters tout its potential to revitalize a struggling economy on Tahoe’s North Shore, as well as implement new-age and much-needed environmental improvements to the area.
The project, while strongly opposed by groups such as the League to Save Lake Tahoe and North Tahoe Preservation Alliance, has received much praise.
The FEIS states 195 people or organizations have submitted comments in support of the project, while 28 submitted comments in opposition. Form letter comments and#8212; a formal letter regarding the inadequacy of the traffic analysis, assessment of fine sediment loads and provision of adequate Best Management Practices and#8212; were signed by 76 individuals.
In a recent e-mail, Amanda Royal, spokeswoman for the League to Save Lake Tahoe, said the statistics regarding positive and negative comments are misleading, as the League represents thousands of individuals, but only submitted one comment.
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