Sandy Beach project approved " in Auburn | SierraSun.com

Sandy Beach project approved " in Auburn

Karen McIntyre
Sierra Sun

Tahoe Vista residents were unhappy with the Placer County Planning Commission’s approval Thursday of the Sandy Beach development.

The Tahoe Vista community asked the commission to continue any decisions to a time and place where North Shore residents could attend and to delay the decision on approving the Environmental Impact Report for the project, which will include 39 tourist accommodation units and six affordable housing units built at the current Sandy Beach Campground.

Commissioners asked what they would gain from having a local meeting, and they had a “let’s get it over with” attitude, said Tahoe Vista resident Jerry Wotel, who watched most of the meeting online.

“I find that very dissmissive of public input and opinion,” he said.

After Tahoe Vista residents Mark Haas and Randy Hill spoke against taking any action at the meeting, the commissioners unanimously voted to not continue the decision and to approve the EIR and the reduced-density project.

The staff always considers the location of the meetings, and the public had plenty of time to voice their opinions, Planning Director Michael Johnson said.

The commission holds at least four meetings a year in Tahoe, and the next one was not scheduled until September. Commissioners did not want to delay the project until then, he said.

The commissioners thought the reduced-density project was appropriate and believes there was adequate time to comment, Johnson said.

Wotel said the community has not had enough of a chance to speak out because most meetings about the subject were held during work hours or not on the North Shore. The “pro-development” commissioners, he said, should make it reasonable for locals to attend the meetings.

“Even though you might get bored out of your mind, you should listen to the public because we live up here, and they don’t,” Wotel said.

People could write letters, but “there is nothing more impactful than to look someone in the eye and express your opinion,” Hill said.

Hill requested to continue the meeting locally, he commented on the specifics of the EIR and he voiced his frustration about the North Shore’s “dysfunctional ties” to Placer County. As he sat back down, Hill said he was wondering if anybody listened to him.

“The tone of those commissioners was dissmissive at best,” he said.

The outcome of Thursday’s meeting was not surprising, Hill said. And even if the meeting was held in Tahoe Vista, the outcome likely would have been the same.

“If they voted differently (in Tahoe Vista), it would have been by intimidation because their minds were clearly made up before the meeting,” said Hill.