Green acres may be the place to " build?
With just six of its 43 acres suitable for building, the Tahoe City Golf Course has been touted by some as an ideal Tahoe City property to construct shops, condos, a five-star hotel or parking.
But the sporting green is not on the market, and the current owners of the nine-hole course built in 1917 have consulted with the Placer County Redevelopment Agency on how to improve their facility.
“It’s not in escrow and it’s not for sale,” said golf course assistant manager and part-owner Debbie Hudson Bechdolt.
The business was in escrow a couple of years ago, but the potential buyers dropped out because of the headache in dealing with regulatory agencies, Bechdolt said.
“Oh well,” she said. “So, let’s just try to fix it up a little more and that’s what we’re going to do this year.”
The family-owned golf course opened for the season on May 9 and is operating business as usual this summer.
“I think a lot of people have looked at it as an opportunity, but I don’t know that it’s been any more than throwing out ideas,” said assistant General Manager Cindy Gustafson of the Tahoe City Public Utility District, and member of the Tahoe City Community Plan team in the 1990s.
In 1994, when the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency adopted the Tahoe City Community Plan, the golf course site was considered for commercial use, said Placer County supervising planner Allen Breuch.
But during the Tahoe City planning process, many residents requested the golf course be preserved as a recreational facility, a goal that now is reflected in the community plan, Gustafson said.
Redevelopment agency staff have met with the golf course owners in recent weeks and are discussing the property’s potential uses, including any combination of retail, lodging, recreation, housing and office space, and weighing the associated benefits and drawbacks.
“We did discuss possibilities on what might happen. Last I had heard they were still in the exploratory phase and talking to different folks ” potential investors, the owners themselves, architects and people with both the county and TRPA ” on what might be possible and what are the issues to get a program to happen,” said Placer redevelopment program coordinator Jim LoBue.
“We’re not the lead on this,” said LoBue. “We’re responding to the private parties who have expressed the interest … I think there’s certainly an opportunity there and we’re willing to support a good project.”
Only six of the 43 acres are buildable because of environmental restrictions like stream zones, Bechdolt said.
“That’s the biggest issue, because of the environment … so you can’t do anything to mess with the water,” she said.
The Placer planning department doesn’t know just how sensitive the property is and says the stream environment zone needs to be further evaluated. To potential buyers, the county recommends first hiring a consultant to determine development capability and to conduct water analyses.
“We haven’t had anybody serious [about the property],” Breuch of Placer planning said. “There’s always been calls on the phone. … We need to identify what’s out there and traffic access, then staff would review it and take it to either the planning commission or our board of supervisors, and then it’s up to [the potential buyer] whether it’s an appropriate spot or not.”
According to Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s plans for the area, the golf course property is zoned for multiple residential, recreational, commercial or public service uses, including single-family and employee housing, hotel or motel facilities, recreation amenities, public services, restaurants and bars and erosion control and stream environment zone restoration.
“All we really know is that the owner would like to possibly become a demonstration project for the next regional plan,” said planning agency community liaison Jeff Cowen.
Tahoe City Golf Course owners have not made any definitive plans and continue to consult with local regulatory agencies about possibilities for development on the property.
“It’s just here. If people ever offered us we would look at the offer … We always entertain the offers. But it’s not officially on the market,” Bechdolt said.
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It was February of 2020 when artist Ryan “RYNo” Bahlman realized he needed to find an art studio.