Lake Tahoe projects receive feedback in inaugural forum |

Lake Tahoe projects receive feedback in inaugural forum

KINGS BEACH, Calif. and#8212; Placer County took an initial swipe at covering a broad range of area topics at the inaugural North Tahoe Forum Tuesday night.

With almost as many county staffers on hand to answer questions as members of the public, officials ran down a list of topics from the Kings Beach Commercial Core Project and redevelopment to fire and the closing of the sheriff’s dispatch center at the meeting at the North Tahoe Events Center. Meetings delving deeper into subjects broached Tuesday will be scheduled in upcoming months.

and#8220;It’s very important we establish a stronger, more trusting relationship between east- and west-county,and#8221; said Jennifer Montgomery, county supervisor.

County Executive Officer Tom Miller said he hoped to have a Tahoe public forum about every 30 days, likely next time in Tahoe City.

He discussed the county’s budget in the current economy.

and#8220;The board adopted a preliminary adopted budget in May,and#8221; Miller said. and#8220;But at some point the state will have to adopt a budget and we’ll have to react to that.and#8221;

And the state’s decision could mean big losses for the county and#8212; potentially between $16 million and $26 million taken away, he said.

and#8220;They could borrow our property tax dollars and#8212; $11 million, but at least it’s borrowed,and#8221; Miller said. and#8220;The greatest concern is if what I call the theft of the gas tax.and#8221;

That could mean $7 million less per year for road maintenance and#8212; almost half of the county’s budget for things like paving and snow removal.

But he stressed under the county’s current budget, no services will be cut in Tahoe or Squaw Valley.

Sheriff’s and fire

Placer County Sheriff’s Captain Jeff Granum said the Tahoe dispatch center is set to close no later than September 2010.

and#8220;The cost of employees in Tahoe is substantially higher, to the tune of almost $1,000 a month,and#8221; Granum said.

But the upside, he said, is the extensive cooperation between law enforcement agencies in Placer County, Truckee, and Incline Village.

and#8220;We work together amazingly well,and#8221; he said.

North Tahoe Fire Chief Duane Whitelaw reiterated the importance of defensible space, and said in conjunction with CalFire his department is doing mandatory inspections in three Tahoe neighborhoods this summer.

Lee Schegg of the North Tahoe Public Utility District said they’re working toward boosting water supply for firefighting in North Tahoe, fighting a legacy of water infrastructure meant to supply nothing more than campsites in some neighborhoods.

Two new water tanks are being installed to increase water volume and pressure specifically for firefighting, he said.

and#8220;That will bring us up to modern standards,and#8221; Schegg said.

Kings Beach: three lanes vs. four

Meetings and public process will be picking up again soon for the Kings Beach Commercial Core project, said Peter Kraatz, deputy director of public works for the county.

The project proposes replacing the current four-lane format of Highway 28 through Kings Beach with three lanes and roundabouts.

and#8220;We’ve responded to (Tahoe Regional Planning Agency) requests for more study on cut-through traffic, noise, and air quality,and#8221; Kraatz said. and#8220;As soon as we’re on the same page and#8212; Placer County and the TRPA and#8212; we’ll start public review.and#8221;

Then the project, already approved by the Placer County Board of Supervisors, would go back to TRPA for consideration in the fall, Kraatz said.

and#8220;Litigation is pending but that’s not preventing us from moving forward,and#8221; Kraatz said of a suit challenging the project from the Kings Beach Business and Citizens Alliance.

When asked about his thoughts on the litigation, Tom Miller responded, and#8220;We don’t talk about litigation, but we’re very confident.and#8221;

Mark Rideout with facilities services said staff has narrowed down the site of a new Placer County government center to either Kings Beach or Tahoe City.

and#8220;It’s coming to a head, we’ll be recommending a selection on the 21st of July,and#8221; Rideout said. and#8220;It’s been decades in the making.and#8221;

Of six Community Enhancement Projects planned in Placer County, three are actively moving forward, said Jim LoBue, deputy director of the Redevelopment Agency.

He said he expects public scoping meetings for the Kings Beach Town Center Project and the Domus affordable housing project are being reviewed, and Homewood’s additions are still under way.

To ask questions, suggest topics of discussion or to find out about future meetings, send an e-mail to

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