Transportation district board pumps brakes on Incline Village mobility hub
Special to the Sierra Sun
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Tahoe Transportation District board members pushed back Friday during a discussion about a mobility hub in Incline Village.
The old Washoe County School District elementary school in Incline Village has been eyed for a potential mobility hub. TTD has been working with WCSD to purchase the site which has sat empty for 15 years.
TTD director Carl Hasty has been outspoken about the need for more public transportation in Incline Village, especially after construction of the East Shore Trail.
Several community members have been outspoken against the project, some saying they don’t want a mobility hub anywhere in Incline while others are just concerned about the specific site.
Washoe County Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler has been candid about not agreeing with the purchase. With the site being on a steep hill and in a residential area, she along with others are concerned about safety.
Board member Steve Teshara pointed out that if a school was operated at that site before, there should already be evidence of the safety of buses coming and going. Hasty said he is waiting for information from the school district on that topic.
Last year, the TTD board gave Hasty approval to pursue purchase of the site but they are now concerned about the project.
“A lot can change in a year,” said board member Sue Novasel.
Berkbigler recently found another potential site in Incline and Hasty, along with Transit System Program Manager George Fink, are considering it. The new site is currently the WCSO substation which Berkbigler said would require “lots of compromise.” However, they are also moving forward with the purchase of the school site.
An initial appraisal has been done, as well as a Phase 1 environmental site assessment. A review appraisal is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 16. The purchase is expected to come back to the board for final approval in January 2021.
With the purchase moving forward, several Incline residents feel TTD is ignoring their concerns and are having the project forced on them.
Hasty has repeatedly said he will plan public comment periods and workshops before moving forward with the project.
TTD board member Bill Yeates, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency appointee, said he’s never received as much public comment on an item then he did with this project.
“I’m concerned we’re all acting like this is a done deal,” Yeates said, adding that he thinks the board should get more public comment and have a more robust conversation before moving forward.
One point that was brought up was that it has been the same few residents commenting again and again so TTD doesn’t have a clear picture of what the whole community wants, which underscores the need for more input.
Hasty said WCSD wanted to have the sale done by the end of the calendar year and have been patient by pushing it to early 2021, but is concerned TTD will pull out if it is further pushed back.
This item was informational only so the board did not take any action. Chairwoman Cindy Gustafson recommended an Ad Hoc committee to work with Hasty on public workshops with herself, Berkbigler, Yeates and board member Andy Chapman.
Laney Griffo is a reporter for the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun.
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