Letter to the Editor: North Tahoe in danger of becoming a ghost town
There has been quite a lot of discussion lately concerning the appropriate level of development in North Tahoeand#8217;s redevelopment areas. The impression left by much of this talk is that the current situation on all these properties represents something worth protecting and that increased densities or height represents an unwelcome urbanization.
In fact, most of these sites contribute untreated storm water to our streams and lake, support deteriorating structures out of compliance with modern energy standards and contain single uses out of date with both current economic and environmental realities.
In the last 20 years, more urban development in North Tahoe has been restored to water quality treatment and park uses than has been built upon. Traffic counts are lower, population is lower, visitation is lower, and the number and vitality of businesses are lower.
North Tahoe is not in danger of over-development, but it is in danger of becoming a ghost town.
Of course not every redevelopment project is a good one and community character matters. But community character is more complex than the height of a building. The community character I care about is keeping a local West Shore ski area. Itand#8217;s about decent housing and housing diversity so we can continue to support K-12 education in North Tahoe. Building sidewalks in Tahoe City didnand#8217;t destroy its character and#8212; it helped support the business activity needed to save it. Putting buildings in a few big empty parking lots at Homewood wonand#8217;t destroy West Shore, but letting the downward economic spiral continue to drive away our families and stifle the kind of investment that creates environmental improvement will.
Sue Rae Irelan