Parking garage a benefit and a concern | SierraSun.com

Parking garage a benefit and a concern

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun

The largest parking structure planned for the California side of the North Shore is receiving mixed reviews by Tahoe City business owners.

In response to the need for easy-to-access, readily visible public parking, a three-story parking garage will be built near the Tahoe City Marina as part of the five-year redevelopment plan adopted by the Placer County Board of Supervisors.

The Tahoe City Marina parking garage will have 138 spaces over three levels and will be adjoined to the marina behind Wolfdale’s, O’Neals and The Back Country.

The $10 million-plus structure is the first multi-level garage in the redevelopment area and only the second one in the county, said Rae James, Placer County’s deputy director of redevelopment.

The project was recently approved by the board, said James, and architects from WNRS Studio of San Francisco will be working on the garage design over the next two to three months.

The county has spent $4 million on parking, bike lanes and other infrastructure projects from 2001 to 2006. Part of the $4 million will fund the parking garage, with the aim to assist downtown commerce.

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But the structure may pose problems to some of these very same businesses the parking spaces are intended to help.

Wolfdale’s restaurant and building owner, Douglas Dale, has concerns about height, noise, construction hours and access.

“[This] is very scary for us. [We’re] not against it, just hoping that it’s done right,” Dale said. “We’re hoping it benefits all of Tahoe City.”

Parking is indeed one of the issues limiting Tahoe City business, Dale said, and infrastructure redevelopment is essential. But even with 138 spaces the new garage will mostly serve the east end of town.

“I’m all for getting this town going again, but you can’t build where it benefits one area of town and obstructs another,” Dale said.

The Back Country will also be directly affected by the parking structure because one garage entrance is behind the store.

“I’m excited about the parking garage,” said Mike Schwartz, The Back Country store owner. “I am especially happy Placer County has decided to gear the top floor more towards people driving through town. The Marina Mall customers need more parking, but so does everyone else.”