My Turn: Where is Tahoe in the Sandy Beach equation?
August 19, 2008
The citizens of Lake Tahoe, a shrinking population, no longer have a voice in the Tahoe Basin as has been evidenced in recent planning hearings for the Sandy Beach-fractional development.
On July 10 the Placer County Planning Commission denied a request for continuance of the hearing to a venue change to Lake Tahoe ignoring a petition from 81 Tahoe Vista residents who wanted to be more involved in the decision-making process.
On July 23 the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board deferred all planning responsibility for project approval to Placer County. Despite petitions from hundreds of locals requesting a reasonable density project, none of the agencies charged with protecting Lake Tahoe seem to care.
It is all about economics. Economics for the developers and economics for the agencies.
The TRPA board chair on July 23 encouraged the developers to meet with community members and to discuss both density as well as parking issues resulting from this project. The developers are unwilling at this time to change their project one bit.
What is going on here now is precedent-setting for every community plan on the North Shore, especially for the more transitional areas like Tahoe Vista and Carnelian Bay and paves the way for a future of high-density and massive developments.
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Sandy Beach as proposed is almost three times the mass of Tonopalo, is taller than Tonopalo, has twice the units, proposes 60 percent removal of all of the trees on the site upon project completion and denudes everything else by 95 percent site grading.
Additionally, this project takes mom-and-pop motel rooms of 300 square feet out of existence and converts them to McMansions of indeterminable size and number of bedrooms with requirements of only one parking spot per residence-. There are not even requirements that these units be available for nightly rental to tourists. It becomes an exclusive resort for the very wealthy where now it is a campground available families of any economic position.
The community plan theme for Tahoe Vista specifically states that future resort development should be of a “low-intensity, rustic Tahoe design.” There is nothing rural or rustic about this project.
Where is the lake in this equation? Where are the agencies chartered to protect it? Why isn’t the community voice being heard? Why does everyone think that more high-density development is the solution to our economic demise , better lake clarity and reduction of traffic concerns?