My Turn: There are no NIMBYs in Tahoe Vista
April 4, 2008
There are no NIMBYs in Tahoe Vista, at least I have not met any. In fact, I recently had the opportunity to participate in a kick-off meeting with 14 community members, developers, property owners, homeowners and business owners who unanimously supported balanced, sensible growth.Lee Koch of Webber andamp; Associates facilitated the meeting and through a group exercise found the pulse of the group. Everyone agreed that to sustain economic viability, protect the natural resources of Lake Tahoe, to preserve open space, beaches, view corridors, historical sites and ensure the safety of community members and visitors, revitalization and redevelopment needs to occur.Beginning in 2003 and with due diligence over the last two years, Tahoe Vista community members have been participating in public forums, public hearings, and organizing community groups. They have researched and educated themselves regarding the 1996 Tahoe Vista Community Plan, the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Protection Act, environmental documents, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency codes and ordinances, Placer County policies and the responsibilities of the local public utility district, fire district and sheriffs department. Their voice has a consistent message and their concerns are being heard: Cumulative impacts Infrastructure deficiencies Carrying capacitiesConcerns expressed have been cumulative impacts 11 projects completed, eight proposed projects, one under construction and two under due diligence/scoping. All projects are within a one-mile by one-mile area of Tahoe Vista with no cumulative impact studies.Density with no offsets such as open space preservation and beach preservation compared to the model commonly used with high density-multi-use complexes of retail below, housing above in exchange for open space preservation: On the North Shore it takes a little more creativity to identify potential offsets, but should be part of the compromise.Insufficient infrastructure fire-flow tanks, water tanks, water supply, wastewater conveyance, treatment and disposal, police and fire protection, evacuation roadways: The community feels the tanks must be in place prior to cumulative proposed developments to ensure everyones safety today and in the future.Portion mitigation fees are being proposed as an answer to the needed infrastructure expansion and improvement: As expressed by one community member, a survivor of the Oakland Hills fires, Money in the bank is not a tank in the ground.Community members to burden the expansion and improvement costs: Kings Beach homeowners are having to afford up to 10,000 in fees to connect to new water systems. These homeowners are teachers, bartenders and our middle-class workforce.Protection of biological resources: Tahoe Vista is home to the osprey, goshawk and other protected species.Affordable workforce housing: Desires to see new or expanded development include their fair-share of affordable workforce housing both for sale and rent so that our workforce has walkability to their jobs. Ensuring that each community provide a fair-share portion of affordable workforce housing, spreading housing throughout the North Shore Communities.As all North Shore communities are interdependent on one another, I encourage you to get educated and involved explore the North Tahoe Development Watch web site @ NTDWatch.org.Karen Van Epps is a 25 year resident of the North Shore, an advocate for families and communities, with two completed terms as an elected official on the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Board.