My Turn: Adding to the Boulder Bay discussion |

My Turn: Adding to the Boulder Bay discussion

LAKE TAHOE and#8212;-Your April 15th issue featured contrasting views on the proposed development of Boulder Bay. Ms. Nichols writes as a citizen and local business owner who favors appropriately scaled redevelopment and property rights. Her concerns are specific details about how this project fits in Crystal Bay in terms of scale, size of the buildings, and impacts relative to what exists in the Crystal Bay community now.

Mr. Frisch writes as the President and CEO of Sierra Business Council who favors concepts such as and#8220;linking protection of natural resources to new development.and#8221; Other reasons are also general and abstract, including and#8220;environmental redevelopment practices,and#8221; and#8220;remove the negative while building the positive,and#8221; that the developer pays for the public to receive and#8220;a significant portion of the benefit through improved Lake quality.and#8221;

Boulder Bay proposes 360 units and additional commercial floor area to replace 120 units at the project site today. Ms. Nichols states in her article that the EIR and#8220;makes the claim it reduces traffic in spite of increasing units by a factor of three.and#8221; Mr. Frisch praises how old units will be replaced by new units and#8220;using one quarter the energy,and#8221; and reduce vehicle miles traveled by 10%.and#8221; What is the source of this energy claim?

New construction is more energy efficient, but new buildings also have more electrical demands (computers, TVs, DVDs, air conditioning, etc.) that meet current market expectations. The old Biltmore hotel rooms are smaller with less occupant capacity. The Arup Study (carbon footprint study funded by Boulder Bay) did not use existing conditions, but scaled up to 304 units as the baseline instead of 120 units. Their conclusion showed a 38% reduction in energy consumption for 304 existing units.

Replacing one 75-watt light bulb with four 35 watt bulbs does not result in less consumption. The existing 120 units have a measurable footprint. The proposal for 360 units and new commercial will demand more electricity/natural gas and will obviously generate more vehicle trips. Manipulation of numbers on paper does not alter physical reality; it only contributes to poor decisions.

Mr. Frisch makes reference to the Tahoe Prosperity Plan, and#8220;that includes strategies to encourage new businesses that adopt a mission to save Lake Tahoe, improve the lives of the people who live here, and make money at the same time.and#8221; These are more general talking points. The National Main Street methodology of redevelopment is from the ground up, honoring local businesses and enhancing what they offer. The Tahoe Prosperity Plan is driven from the top down which is the opposite of the National Main Street Program.

SBC does much good work, so why not engage the local facts on the ground? Is it coincidental the CEP program (Boulder Bay is a part) originated when John Singlaub was Executive Director of the TRPA and sitting on the Board of Directors of SBC?

It would be refreshing for the local newspaper to encourage civic engagement on the same level of abstraction that either addresses the facts on the ground or general principles and concepts.

Dave McClure is president of the North Tahoe Citizen Action Alliance, based in Tahoe Vista.

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