Citizens point out ‘significant error’ in Kings Beach highway approval
November 11, 2008
KINGS BEACH “-A group of citizens and business owners are challenging the Placer County Board of Supervisors’ approval of the three-lane, roundabout road alternative for the Kings Beach Core Redevelopment.
The lawsuit, filed Oct. 23, claims that the Board of Supervisors approved an environmental impact report that did not “adequately analyze or mitigate its numerous environmental impacts. Including impacts to air quality, traffic, noise, public safety and cumulative impacts.”
The lawsuit goes on to assert that the environmental review “substantially understates the extent and severity of the project’s impacts on the environment.”
“We feel like they made a gross and very significant error in their analysis of this particular alternative hybrid,” said Dave McClure, an organizer of the Kings Beach Business and Citizens Alliance, the group that filed the suit. “We are not against the project. The only point we are arguing is that the Board of Supervisors chose an alternative for the highway that greatly reduces traffic capacity.”
The Alliance’s lawsuit seeks three major recitifications:
– That the Board of Supervisors “vacate and set aside” its September certification of the final EIR and approval of the Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement project on the ground that it violates the Californian Environmental Quality Act.
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– That the board prepare, circulate and consider a new EIR for the project
– The board suspend activity that could result in any change to the physical environment until the above actions have been taken.
The lawsuit also asks that the Board compensate the Alliance for costs associated with the lawsuit including attorneys fees and any relief that the court finds necessary.
County Counsel Anthony La Bouff told the Associated Press he had not reviewed the lawsuit, but was “reasonably comfortable” the board’s actions will prevail in court.
“It was not unexpected,” he said of the lawsuit.
A plan for redeveloping the Kings Beach commercial core has been discussed and debated for more than a decade. Since June, both the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the Place County Board of Supervisors have voted on a preferred alternative presented to them that turns Highway 28 into two lanes of traffic with a center turn lane, uses roundabouts at key intersections and constructs bikelanes, seasonal on-street parking and sidewalks.
However in its lawsuit, the Alliance said this alternative, approved by Placer County in September, did not adequately the possible negative affects the project would have on the surrounding neighborhood. Concerns listed in the lawsuit include:
– air quality effects in the local neighborhood
– noise impacts to the surrounding neighborhood
– public safety impacts
– traffic impacts
A public divide has surrounded the project since the four original alternatives were presented in 2004. In recent months the TRPA has also shown division over the alternatives, first voting against the alternative in June and then reversing its decision in July.
Placer County has stood behind the three-lane, roundabout alternative, with a vote of approval from its Planning Commission in June and the following approval from the Board of Supervisors in September.