Tahoe government center raises concerns | SierraSun.com

Tahoe government center raises concerns

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun

Residents of a neighborhood above Tahoe Vista spoke out Thursday against the possibility of using a 10-acre parcel in Kingswood for the proposed Placer County government center.

About 100 people attended the public information meeting Placer hosted specifically for Kingswood residents so they might learn the purpose of the new facility and to voice concerns.

Kingswood resident Mary Horn said the meeting was helpful but she felt like the county was leaning toward the Kingswood site because it appeared to be the easiest to develop. But she thinks her neighborhood is an inappropriate place for the proposed development.

“I don’t like Kingswood as a site ” it’s right in my backyard,” Horn said. “I don’t think it’s in anybody’s best interest to have it up there.”

The Tahoe-based government center would be constructed in an effort to consolidate facilities for public convenience, cost-efficiency and ease for county employees. Placer is also looking to partner with other agencies such at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency or the U.S. Forest Service.

The county is currently in the process of evaluating each of six potential sites proposed for the center, from Squaw Valley to Tahoe City to Kings Beach, though none of the properties clearly stand out as the perfect site, county officials said.

Each of the parcels has its strengths and constraints, but redevelopment and develop-ability have been earmarked as the county’s top priorities in site selection.

Mary Dietrich, assistant director of Placer County facility services, said the county estimates the government center will receive 150 to 200 visitors each day in addition to about 50 employees.

In response to these estimated numbers, many residents expressed concern with infrastructure issues, particularly the impact of traffic on both Highways 89 and 267.

“It’s going to affect everyone because of the congestion,” Horn said.

Additionally, some area residents said they were worried about “neighborhood degradation” and missing the open space the parcel now offers. Others are concerned their property values will go down.

But the county intends to go forward with their site evaluations, planning to bring updated information and a short list of the properties to the Placer County Board of Supervisors at its April 3 Tahoe meeting.

Construction is slated for 2010-2011.

“The meeting was a great opportunity to share the status of our site selection process and give the community a chance to provide input, particularly on the Kingswood area,” said Placer County Director of Facility Services Jim Durfee. “The community members expressed concerns over developing the Kingswood property, including traffic safety, the size of the project, aesthetics and the issue of developing an office adjacent to existing homes. This input will be very helpful as the site selection process proceeds.”