Placer County advances Kings Beach planning | SierraSun.com

Placer County advances Kings Beach planning

Julie Brown
Sierra Sun

Placer County is on the verge of moving forward with a plan to revitalize the Kings Beach corridor, and should release a draft plan next month.

That’s what representatives told North Shore residents Thursday evening at a meeting of the North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council at the North Tahoe Conference Center in Kings Beach.

The meeting also gave critics of the Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project a chance to air their concerns over a proposal to make the road through the lakefront town two lanes with roundabouts at key intersections.

Although Placer is closer to approving the project, several prominent issues remain on the table, including funding, long-term maintenance, and the final selection of traffic lanes, parking options and roundabouts versus lights.

The proposed facelift of a 1.1-mile stretch of Highway 28 is meant to improve lake clarity, bicycle and pedestrian safety and the town’s aesthetics.

The $40 million project is still approximately $10 million shy of funds, said Placer County Deputy Director of Public Works Peter Kraatz. Officials hope to obtain the funds during next year’s round of budgeting, he said.

The project is scheduled to be presented to the Placer County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration this fall, but county officials must first respond to public comments they received after releasing the project’s draft environmental impact report this spring.

Staff is swamped with hundreds of comments, said Placer Public Works Director Ken Grehm. It takes time to address each individual comment.

“It’s not about winning or losing; it’s not about what’s right or wrong. It’s ultimately what the community wants,” Kraatz said. “We’re still listening to you.”

County planners said they would release a recommendation in August, after all comments are addressed, although they gave no specific date.

At the meeting, some participants voiced concerns over the project’s critical issues, reiterating positions they’ve raised time and again.

“Everything has its pros and cons, and a lot of people are getting confused,” said Paul Vatistas of Tahoe City. “That’s part of why … a consensus [has not been reached].”

Many who spoke expressed concerns over seasonal on-street parking, pedestrian safety, maintenance and traffic congestion.

“It’s 40 million bucks of taxpayer’s money,” Vatistas said. “A lot of people care about what’s going on.”

The regional advisory council did not recommend a preferred improvement plan to the board of supervisors; the agenda called only for a discussion.