Heated Homewood plan to be voted on by TRPA | SierraSun.com

Heated Homewood plan to be voted on by TRPA

David Bunker
Sierra Sun

A controversial Homewood timeshare project’s fate will be decided by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency at their Wednesday board meeting in South Lake Tahoe.

If the TRPA approves the proposal for nine timeshares, known as the Villas at Harborside, the project will be sent on to Placer County for a vote, said the planning agency’s community liaison Jeff Cowen.

A group of West Shore residents, calling themselves “Friends of the West Shore,” have organized to oppose the project.

“It’s going to be this big massive addition and it doesn’t fit into the community,” said Susan R. Gearhart, a member of the group.

She said the buildings will become a “timeshare motel” that will add traffic and parking problems to Homewood.

She is also concerned the buildings will block views of the lake.

However, other residents and business owners contend the timeshares will inject new life into the West Shore.

“Economically, we need it,” said Rob Weston, owner of West Shore Sports.

Weston said a hotel on the property would have been an eyesore, and lakefront homes would have been used little, leaving the local businesses not much better off. The timeshare project seems like the ideal middle ground, he said.

“[The project] gives this area, Homewood, 36 new families to do business with,” said Weston.

Five of the nine timeshare units are actually being relocated from a nearby old hotel that will be torn down. Those one-bedroom units will become three-bedroom timeshares.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency said the conditions of approval will be written to assure the project protects scenic qualities.

“We are concerned with the scenic quality in the long run,” said Cowen. “We have written one of the most rigid permits ever [for the project].”

Cowen said neighbors’ comments on the project helped the TRPA come up with permits and requirements that will improve the shoreline environment in the project area.

“They’ve brought our attention to a number of issues that were not resolved,” said Cowen.

Issues like moving marina boat racks five feet back from the lake, and screening the racks with trees will improve the shoreline.

The project also had to navigate a convoluted path which included an agreement signed with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in 1995.

Opponents of the project had questioned this agreement affected the Villas at Harborside proposal.

The agreement resolved past non-compliance with TRPA standards including pulling out 30,000 square feet of coverage, adding bike trails, beach access and a bus stop.

But the pact, which says the development in the area will be residential, does not preclude timeshares, according to the TRPA.

“We’re trying hard to keep this project in line with the character of the West Shore,” said Cowen.