Debbie White: Original plans for lodge would grant final wish
February 24, 2019
I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate my emails to the Tahoe City Public Utility District from this winter and to make it very clear that I would like to see the lodge being erected in the current TCXC location, i.e. on Country Club Drive.
I have read the history of the Schilling Lodge on the cross country website and I'd like to highlight a few points. I fully appreciate the intention of Mr. John Mozart making the offer to the TCPUD to donate this historical property, instead of totally demolishing it and building the property he is currently constructing for his own needs.
When he informed the Pennoyers of his intention, Tracy (the mother on her death bed) was thrilled to learn her home would provide further enjoyment to the Tahoe community for generations to come. She was also delighted it wasn't being torn down or adapted or re-modeled "beyond recognition" (quote the cross country website).
I think Tracy would be surprised and perhaps horrified to learn the original building of 4,200 square feet has now been expanded and remodeled to a 7,300-square-foot lodge. You could say "beyond recognition" of the original 1937 family home. The very thing she so wanted to avoid.
Tahoe is about the great outdoors, not the great indoors that this lodge is trying to be.
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The website goes on to say how the lodge embodied an era of civility and simplicity. Lake Tahoe was a place to slow down, relax, enjoy the natural beauty.
This has not changed, yet I think the family would be saddened to hear the discontent of a neighborhood that is experiencing a process of:
Biased communication in the form of questionnaires, open meetings and face to face discussion.
Lack of communication (I haven't received a single piece of unsolicited information either by post, door drop or any other means) about this from the cross country centre or TCPUD.
Fear of speaking out due to the fact the Tahoe Cross Country center is running this process (not the TCPUD which owns the land) and too many people affected know those in charge. They fear retribution personally and professionally resulting in silence and fear.
Total lack of acknowledgement to the 2014 public process undertaken that proved overwhelmingly to retain the current site for the new lodge.
The sudden need to not recognize the family wish to retain the original building and for it to be enjoyed in a place of natural beauty, where simplicity and civility is maintained. It will be a 7,400-square-foot eyesore with homeowners looking in to a car park, experiencing increased traffic, major disruption with commercial year-round facilities including a "Free Heal cafe" (as stated on the TCXC website) and science workshop venue amongst other long term aspirations to develop the site.
Disruption and impact to the environment including flora, fauna and wildlife.
No consideration for safety in our neighborhood over the hungry need to place the lodge behind the high school in a much larger format (adding 3,100 square feet to the original size) instead of accepting the gift as was and appreciating the improvement it can bring to the existing site and facilities.
To sum up: we purchased our house based on its access to the great outdoors that does not include a lodge of 7,300 square feet with 100 parking spaces, continuous traffic and commercial benefits included. Ironically, mountain biking and cross-country skiing are two sports that do not require lodges and commercial structures.
The joy of these sports is about nature, freedom and outdoors. Not a wax room, work bench, locker rooms, showers, work out room. Cross-country skiing is a sport that involves going up and down hill under one's own steam. No lifts, no lodges. It is a work out. That is the entire point of doing it.
Tahoe is about the great outdoors, not the great indoors that this lodge is trying to be. We should focus on the original wishes of the Pennoyer family and grant Tracy her last wish.
Debbie White lives in Tahoe City.
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