Tahoe City property to be used for affordable housing | SierraSun.com

Tahoe City property to be used for affordable housing

Hannah Jones
hjones@sierrasun.com

Placer County took a step toward mitigating effects of the region's housing crisis this week by purchasing 11.4 acres of property in Tahoe City for an affordable housing project.

The Board of Supervisors approved the purchase that includes 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.

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.

The property also 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.

To fund the purchase, Placer County reached out for community support, including to the Tahoe Truckee Airport District, which agreed to commit $500,000 toward the purchase.

The County Executive Office has been talking with area organizations like the North Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, Tahoe City Downtown Association and the Mountain Housing Council to help meet the community's needs, the report states. The next steps are to hire a developer to design and construct the units.

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A 2016 Tahoe Truckee Housing Needs Assessment reported that 65 percent of homes in the area are vacant, mainly used for vacation homes, and that 58.6 percent of the local employees commute into town. It also reported that the median home price in 2015 was $538,000 and estimated the maximum home price considered as "affordable" to a four-person lower income household is $235,000. With the average household income in North Lake Tahoe at $67,000, buying a home is not a feasible option for many.

According to a Beacon Economics report, the median price of a single family home in Eastern Placer County has now risen to $624,000 in 2017, surpassing the current state average of $539,000 according to Zillow.com.

There are already 304 achievable housing units in the development process in North Lake Tahoe, including the Artist Lofts, Coburn Crossing project, Meadow View Place and the Tahoe City Marina apartments, according to Representative of the Mountain Housing Council. The council used the term "achievable housing" to define all projects that it is currently working on which could be designated as affordable or market rate.

Still, there is a long way to go, according to the housing needs assessment. An estimated 12,160 housing units are needed in order to accommodate the future workforce.

"This acquisition provides an opportunity to support development of much-needed workforce housing in the North Tahoe area," read a staff report.

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

BY THE NUMBERS

65% — area homes that are vacant, used mainly as vacation homes

58.6% — employees commuting into Tahoe Truckee area for work

$538,000 — 2015 median home price in the area

$67,000 — average household income in North Lake Tahoe area

Source: 2016 Tahoe Truckee Housing Needs Assessment