Placer County looks to purchase affordable housing site |

Placer County looks to purchase affordable housing site

In an effort to combat the current housing crisis in the Tahoe area, Placer County Board of Supervisors voted this week to negotiate the purchase of 11.4 acres of property in Tahoe City to develop into affordable housing units.

The county plans to purchase three vacant parcels at 3205 North Lake Blvd., previously the location of a gas station and retail building that have both been demolished, from R.T. Nahas company for $3.6 million.

“This is an opportunity to put a vision towards the community’s needs right now,” said Jennifer Merchant, deputy county executive officer of Placer County.

According to a staff report, the Nahas property “presents an excellent site for potential housing development,” as the property had already been approved for a similar project in 2003 and is designated by the county as a preferred affordable housing area. In addition, it sits on a Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transit route adjacent to the Placer County trailhead and east-west bike trail system offering access to Tahoe City.

“We’re not making progress on the income gap.” — Placer County Deputy CEO Jennifer Merchant

“It’s an excellent site for development,” said Laurie Morse, a Placer County property manager.

To fund the purchase Placer County has reached out to local districts for community support including the Tahoe Truckee Airport District. On Wednesday the district’s Board of Directors agreed to commit $500,000 towards the purchase of the land in an effort to combat the lack of affordable housing.

A 2017 Beacon Economics report on eastern Placer County workforce housing shows the median household income in the Tahoe region is higher than the state average. However, the median price of a single family home in the area studied is one third higher than the state’s.

“We’re not making progress on the income gap,” said Merchant, noting that the lack of housing is greatly impacting the ability of businesses to attract and retain employees.”

The planned purchase will be placed on the North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council’s agenda in August as an informational item. Meanwhile the County Executive Office in Tahoe will work with community organizations to develop a plan that best fits the communities needs. Once a concept is developed, the project must go through an environmental review process.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or

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