Tahoe City courthouse project moves forward | SierraSun.com

Tahoe City courthouse project moves forward

Matthew Renda
Sierra Sun

TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212; Officials working at the substandard courthouse off Burton Creek Drive could soon benefit from a new workplace.

The California State Public Works Board recently approved two potential sites for a new North Lake Tahoe courthouse, with the preferred location at the Tahoe Tree Company property, which is bounded by West Lake Boulevard and Granlibakken Road in Tahoe City, said Teresa Ruano, from the California Administrative Office of the Courts. The site is in a commercial area in proximity to other government facilities.

Officials also have proposed an alternative site to be studied in Dollar Hill bounded by Highway 28 and Lake Forest Road. Two privately owned parcels compose the potential site, located in a commercial area near the existing courthouse and sheriff station building.

and#8220;We … want to express our appreciation for the time and effort put into the site selection process by our project advisory group,and#8221; said Placer Superior Court Presiding Judge Alan V. Pineschi said. and#8220;Their input was invaluable to ensure that we consider not only the needs of the court and legal community but also those of our local citizens, business owners and visitors.and#8221;

The next step is an environmental assessment of each parcel, Ruano said. Site selection, environmental review and site acquisition, all of which require approval from the state, is expected to finish by August 2012, after which architectural design can proceed. The project is estimated to cost $27.5 million, according to the California Courts website.

The project would replace the current Tahoe City courthouse, located off Burton Creek Drive near Lake Forest, which is severely undersized and overcrowded and has several deficiencies in security, access, efficiency and accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Ruano said.

The new single-courtroom building would provide adequate space for criminal, civil, traffic and family law proceedings for Tahoe-area residents, along with improvements in court security, operations and holding facilities, she said.

The North Tahoe courthouse project is ranked as an and#8220;immediate needand#8221; in the judicial branchand#8217;s capital-outlay plan. It ranks among 41 projects funded by California Senate Bill 1407, which finances critically needed courthouse construction, renovation and repair through a portion of judicial branch fees, fines and penalties, without impact on the stateand#8217;s General Fund, Ruano said.