Building for Books |

Building for Books

Seth Lightcap/Sierra SunRecent proposals for a new Kings Beach Library have cited that the current library is too small to house adequate amenities for users.

Despite the suggestion made by a development group to relocate the Kings Beach library to a space within the proposed project, political and financial barriers may hinder the move.

Wyatt Ogilvy, a consultant for B.B., L.L.C., told an audience of more than 240 at a public meeting earlier this month that the developer, S.K. Brown, could potentially relocate the Kings Beach Library.

The library currently sits on a Stream Environment Zone on the western end of town. The building is 1,380 square feet, but the county determined last year that the library should be 2,300 square feet to keep up with the North Shore town’s growth.

Whitney Bibbens of B.B., L.L.C. said he couldn’t comment on the proposal to move the library because “it is complicated and it is political.”

“We’re just trying to figure out what’s the right thing to do for Kings Beach,” he said in a phone interview last week.

Bibbens said the development group thought of finding a place in the project for the library after hearing community feedback. The library would fit well with the firm’s proposed concept, which Bibbens said S.K. Brown has dubbed the “Kings Beach Town Center.”

For the present, S.K. Brown’s priority is shepherding the project through the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Community Enhancement Program, which seeks proposals with innovative environmental and community-minded elements.

By the Oct. 31 deadline, developers submitted nine applications in the Tahoe Basin, including five on the West Shore and North Shore.

S.K Brown will look further into relocating the library once its proposed concept is approved, Bibbens said.

“We’re just not going down that road at this point,” he said.

Jim LoBue, deputy director of Placer County Redevelopment, said the library suggestion is one of several possible uses in S.K. Brown’s project, which covers 4.3 acres on the mountain side of Highway 28 between Coon and Fox streets.

“It’s what is available to make something happen and what is possible,” LoBue said. “A lot of this is in flux and is not nailed down yet.”

Mark Parker, Placer County director of library services, said the county’s restoration and improvement efforts are limited by resources. And the Kings Beach library expansion is on the lower end of the priority list.

The Placer County board of supervisors committed last year to improving libraries in Rocklin, Colfax and Forest Hill before 2016, Parker said. Larger-budget ventures for the libraries are funded out of the county’s general fund, Parker said. The libraries do not have a capital improvement budget.

“We are very, very aware that it’s a pressing need [for Kings Beach],” Parker said. “[The library] is small, it’s crowded. It definitely could be improved in terms of size.”

The library also sits on the banks of Griff Creek, which is the subject of a county public works restoration project, said Dan LaPlante, an associate civil engineer with Placer County.

Depending on funding to continue the restoration project, public works may pursue an easement on the library’s property, LaPlante said. But the library is not a direct hindrance to the restoration.

“In an ideal world, we’d love to have the library somewhere else,” he said. “But there were constraints to moving the library.”

LoBue said libraries are a facet of redevelopment, but there are other pressing needs in Kings Beach that the redevelopment agency has committed funds to, such as the Commercial Core Improvement project and affordable housing.

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