Opinion: Tahoe City Lodge would create traffic, noise issues
August 16, 2016
Open letter to Cindy Gustafson and the Board of Directors of the Tahoe City Public Utility District (TCPUD):
The TCPUD has entered into a memorandum of understanding with developers (Kila Tahoe) on the Tahoe City Lodge Project, which will create additional traffic gridlock in the center of Tahoe City, added noise, night time glare and drop a scenic sore thumb as much as 56 feet high in the middle of our town.
Granted, the existing dilapidated Henrikson Building must go, but current rules only allow 40 units/acre, and since the site is 1.4 acres, that equates to 56 units. However, the Tahoe City Lodge developer wants 118 units (40 hotel rooms and the rest hotel/condos).
That is a 111% increase in the number of units, not to mention a huge increase in building massing. By cutting a deal with them to use the Golf Course property as part of their project area, the TCPUD is enabling Kila Tahoe to over build and set a dangerous precedent for other sites.
Just because they have agreed to redo the club house, is this enough of a public benefit for more gridlock? The developer claims they must build that many units to make it financially feasible. Maybe they paid too much to begin with. Is that our problem? And have you examined their detailed financial statements to see how much they stand to earn with and without the easement?
I think our lake is in serious environmental trouble. I see numerous articles in the Sierra Sun that our lake clarity, or lack thereof, is primarily due to fine sediment finding its way into the lake — caused by ongoing development, crushed dirt by cars on the highways and the ever increasing number of cars carrying more visitors to the lake each year, and, while doing so, emitting tons of carbon monoxide into our air.
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And I recently read that Squaw Valley and Martis Valley West, if granted permits by Placer County, will add over 1,600 new units and put over 2,000 cars on our already overly congested roads on the North Shore.
I'm not a land use planner, but I wonder and am asking you, Cindy and Board members, a question: Before we grant a permit for the Tahoe City Lodge — which will, without any doubt, increase our traffic jams and our pollution in both the air and the lake — shouldn't we first be asking one question: Have we defined the lake's limit of growth and development, its carrying capacity, given our understandable environmental concerns? Should the TCPUD engage in the development game? At what point, and based on what criteria, do we finally say no more?
Ron Grassi is a Tahoe City resident, a retired lawyer and former co-conservation chair of the local Tahoe Area Sierra Club.