North Tahoe has plenty to say about projects | SierraSun.com

North Tahoe has plenty to say about projects

Julie BrownSierra Sun
Seth Lightcap/Sierra SunKings Beach Community Enhancement Program proposals received public comment that suggested citizens do not want to lose their beach town feel to a major new development. The Robin's Nest is one such business that contributes to the funky downtown charm.
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The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency wanted to engage the public in the early planning phases of the Community Enhancement Program.And the people responded. Residents and business owners said that affordable housing for the communitys workforce is a major priority.They want to see Lake Tahoe communities set the bar on progressive green development.And they welcomed plans that would revitalize downtown areas in the Tahoe Basin.Those were the predominant trends favored by the opinions, critiques and comments offered during and after the Community Enhancement Programs public meeting last month, when seven applicants unveiled their proposed development concepts to an audience of more than 200. Streamline Consulting Group recently compiled all of the meetings feedback into a single document for the Tahoe planning agency and the developers. Consultants took notes on conversations between developers and participants, and 48 attendees submitted comments in writing. I think I look at the overall tone of all the comments, said program applicant Dave Ferrari of Kings Beach, who proposed redeveloping several parcels in downtown Kings Beach. And people really want to see something new and good happen in Kings Beach.Ferrari said he felt the comments provided pretty educated feedback that could improve some of the projects. He said he would incorporate the publics voice into his project as best we can.While overall sentiment seemed positive, not all of the comments were fluff. Many harshly critiqued the proposed architectural styles.Kings Beach meetings have repeatedly said, funky beach town. We dont want The Village at Kings Beach, one statement firmly declared. Participants were also wary about height limitations and building mass. They wanted to make sure affordable housing would be for the existing local workforce and said several projects could be more environmentally innovative. The dialogue between governing agencies and the community goes beyond the Community Enhancement Program. Hundreds of local residents and stakeholders participated in the programs place-based workshops held over the past year.We want the community to talk to the TRPA about community character, said Jennifer Merchant, from the Placer County executive office. And how that needed to be folded into the regional plan.Trends identified in the workshops, such as infill redevelopment, increasing density and encouraging mixed-use development, are the focal points of this demonstration program, Merchant said.I think [public participation] has been consistent all along, she said. Weve known that the public is interested in improving their communities.The bistate Tahoe Regional Planning Agency scheduled a meeting with the Performance Review Committee for today to discuss the allocation of such rewards as commercial floor space, height, density and tourist accommodation units in return for each developments environmental merit. We need to make sure the new growth goes at pace with environmental improvements, said Jeff Cowen, agency spokesperson. Todays meeting wont judge the allocations within the context of public comment, but Cowen said the feedback will help inform the programs staff when they submit their recommendation to the governing board in January.