County moves ahead with transit center project
Placer County is moving ahead with plans for a transit center in Tahoe City, despite a lawsuit over the board’s approval of the environmental document last year.
In October, the Placer County Board of Supervisors awarded a contract to San Francisco-based WRNS Studio to begin design of the Tahoe City Transit Center on 2.5 acres of land in the 64 Acres tract near the Tahoe City wye.
The firm has experience in designing transit centers, including the one in Fairfield, said Placer County Senior Transportation Systems Supervisor Will Garner. It will take the firm between nine months to one year to design the project, Garner said.
The board also decided to meet the requirements of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s bicycle and pedestrian master plan earlier this month in order to receive funding for a bike trail in front of the transit center.
Tony Rossmann, attorney for the homeowners associations that filed a lawsuit earlier this year, said there was an agreement that the government agencies involved with the project would not “do anything physical on the property” until the lawsuit was resolved.
Rossmann said he would not file an injunction on the project as long as there is only planning involved and no construction. Rossmann said the hired designers are taking a risk because there is a lawsuit, but that it is within the county’s right to hire them.
The county board of supervisors approved the project’s environmental impact report in January 2005, despite an outcry from neighboring homeowners. In March, the Tahoe Tavern and Tavern Shores homeowners associations sued Placer County, the U.S. Forest Service and the Federal Transit Administration over the project. The lawsuit cited environmental concerns, loss of recreational opportunities and diminished property values.
Both sides filed opposition briefs Wednesday, Rossmann said. A hearing is scheduled March 2 at 10 a.m. in Sacramento.
“We feel that our position remains strong as it always has,” Rossmann said. “We feel we have a pretty strong case.”
If the government agencies prevail, the project would include spaces for six buses, a 130-space parking lot, waiting areas for passengers and an office. The $2.5 million project would be funded in part by a $1.5 million federal transit grant.
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