MAKING SPACES | SierraSun.com
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MAKING SPACES

Joanna HartmanSierra Sun

Even though construction wont begin for another year, the North Tahoe community is already up in arms about the planned Tahoe City Marina parking garage.In an effort to inform the public about the project details and allay public concern, the Tahoe City Downtown Association will host a community forum Thursday to present the latest information on Placer Countys parking structure plans as well as the Tahoe City Marina expansion.The county is ready to come back and show the community where they are and what theyre doing, said Director Kelly Atchley of the Tahoe City Downtown Association. And its our role to get the word out [about the projects] to our membership.Most of the publics concerns about Placers parking structure are rooted in tree removal and the projects price tag.But the estimated costs for the project are on par with industry standards, between $30,000 and $70,000 per parking space, said Rae James, deputy director of the Placer County Redevelopment Agency.Placer set aside $14 million in the North Lake Tahoe redevelopment budget for the three-story parking structure. With estimates on the high side, James said, each space will cost about $60,000.Individual parking spaces in the Jackpine and Brooks Street lots in Kings Beach were less expensive, but construction costs for garages are more expensive than surface lots, James said.

Traffic studies from the 1990s indicated a deficit in Tahoe City parking, and a 2003 study by Placers public works department supported that. Particularly in the area around Boatworks Mall and the marina, more parking spaces were needed, the Placer report said.The garage has been talked about for 10 years, James said, and though people are concerned with the costs of the project now, as time passes it will become more expensive.Sometimes its hard to understand when you talk about an idea … and its been talked about for years, she said. Finally, weve got everything lined up and its ready to go.The proposed three-story garage will have a capacity of 135 cars, while the existing surface lot includes about 40 parking spaces, said Brian Stewart, senior civil engineer with Placers Department of Public Works.Since the December North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council meeting, plans for the parking garage have been modified, James said.Some area businesses, such as Wolfdales restaurant, expressed concerns with the visual impact of such a large structure. The Bay Area architects cut the third level down to about two-thirds the height of the second story, and the first floor will start 6 feet below ground.Architects lowered the overall height of the structure so you can barely see it from the street and hardly see it from the lake, James said.Additionally, the entrance to the third floor of the structure has been moved to the east of Backcountry.Both Placer County and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency have approved the project and the designs will likely be approved by the end of the summer, James said.The county hopes to begin construction in the spring of 2008 and have the garage up and running in 2009.

While some residents are concerned with the cost of each parking space, others disapprove of the source of funding redevelopment money.The deeper problem is theyre using redevelopment money for this. That is the issue, said Dave McClure of Tahoe Vista. Im not so much against the idea of parking in Tahoe City, but if the county wants to come up with economic development money. Redevelopment money is meant to deal with blight.McClure would like to see redevelopment funds used to clean up areas of Kings Beach and Tahoe Vista that he says are in more desperate need of attention.When it comes to overall redevelopment money and where that money is coming from and how its being spent, … [paying for the Tahoe City marina parking garage] is a flagrant violation of what redevelopment is under the law, said McClure.


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