Placer suggests option for more North Shore parking | SierraSun.com
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Placer suggests option for more North Shore parking

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun

Planners have suggested an alternative to create more parking on the North Shore.

Placer County is proposing an in-lieu parking fee as a way to meet the parking requirements of new development in North Tahoe.

“The proposed program is meant to be only one tool to encourage development as the community envisioned in the community plan,” Placer County’s Public Works Director Ken Grehm said in an e-mail interview.

The program would allow payment for some or all required parking associated with development rather than construction of on-site parking. If approved, it would be applicable to all new development in the Kings Beach and Tahoe City downtown areas.

Gary Davis, an engineer, architect and planner based in Tahoe City, said that the proposed in-lieu program could help small projects that don’t have available parking. Instead of applying for a variance with the county, which can cost several thousand dollars with no guarantee, the small projects could pay in-lieu fees.

There are already several deterrents to redeveloping an old building in North Tahoe, including Tahoe Regional Planning Agency coverage issues and county parking requirements, Davis said. Take the barbershop in Tahoe City, he said. The building is roughly 500 square feet and has no room on the lot for parking.

The in-lieu program would provide the opportunity for someone to use the building or land and pay a fee to be used toward parking elsewhere rather than applying for a variance.

The proposed in-lieu fee costs $16,350 per space, based on county evaluations determining the cost of a parking space at $33,000 including land, permitting and construction, Grehm said.

There are no specific projects on the horizon to which this program would apply, he said.

The county’s parking requirements on development or remodels vary depending upon use. For example, an office building requires one parking space for every 300 square feet while a retail location needs one spot for 250 square feet, Davis said.

Truckee has an in-lieu fee program that is an important tool in encouraging the revitalization of downtown areas, said Stefanie Olivieri, Cabona’s owner and president of the Truckee Downtown Merchants Association.

“It’s a great economic incentive to upgrade buildings where parking is not available,” Olivieri said.

The in-lieu parking fee in Truckee costs between $3,000 and $5,000 per parking space, she said.

Currently, Placer is soliciting input from the community and will later take the proposal to the board of supervisors for consideration. The public will have another opportunity to learn about the program at a North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council meeting in either January or February, Grehm said.

County officials would like to see the program approved before next spring.

Questions or concerns about the in-lieu program can be e-mailed to Ken Grehm at kgrehm@placer.ca.gov.

– Merchants get the benefit of community parking available to all their customers, not just the patrons of one business.

– The environment would benefit by encouraging the most efficient type of parking.

– Taxpayers benefit from the combination of current public funding from the redevelopment agency and private sector dollars to maximize public parking for the whole community.

– The community benefits from encouraging development in the commercial core as envisioned in the community plan, where buildings are not dominated or completely separated by parking lots.


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