TRPA approves affordable housing project for Tahoe college

A rendering of the student housing project.
Provided/LTCC and JK Architecture Engineering

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Lake Tahoe Community College on Wednesday received approval to construct a new on-campus building dedicated to student housing.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency fully supported the 33-unit, 100-bed two story facility that will serve California residents who are low-income, full-time college students.

“A real exciting project,” TRPA Governing Board Chair Cindy Gustafson said in lead up to Wednesday’s discussion.

LTCC in June 2022 was one of 11 community colleges that were approved to receive funding for low-income student housing and will be granted about $40 million in state funds to complete the project. LTCC applied for this funding in October 2021.

Jeff DeFranco, president and superintendent at LTCC, gave the board a presentation and is excited to get started with construction.

“We’ve been talking about housing the entire time I’ve been on campus,” DeFranco told the board while adding that he has been at the school for a decade, including the last six years in his current role. “We see this as a transformative project.”

Construction for on-campus housing could begin as soon as this summer, with a target date of July 1, 2025 for students to move in, and no later than fall, DeFranco said.

The approximately 32,000-square-foot facility will be located on the southwest portion of campus, overlooking Trout Creek. The facility includes a reception area, community activity spaces, study areas, laundry, vending, and student storage locker areas. Sitework includes access walkways/drives, turf areas, outdoor seating, landscaping, parking, and a covered utilities structure with a trash enclosure. The building will also include one resident director office/apartment.

The maximum proposed height is 37 feet and six inches, as DeFranco said they wanted to build up and limit the footprint.

LTCC will establish maximum rental amounts to ensure that low-income students can access these facilities. Specifically, rents will start at $500/bed per month for double-occupancy rooms and $795/bed for single-occupancy rooms when the facility opens.

LTCC currently has housing for 31 students off campus, in the Ski Run neighborhood, and plans to continue housing students there as well.

Gavin Feiger, with Keep Tahoe Blue, during public comment said the agency fully supports the project.

Hilary Roverud, Director of Development Services for the city of South Lake Tahoe, also shared that the city supports the project.

Governing Board member and Douglas County Commissioner Wes Rice commented that TRPA is a bi-state compact between California and Nevada and, although he approved the project, noted it will do nothing for Nevada students.

TRPA code requires Governing Board review and approval of the allocation of 10 or more residential bonus units for income-restricted housing.

TRPA said in the agenda information on the item that, “The project will bring much needed affordable student housing to the Lake Tahoe region and directly responds to the acute affordable housing shortage.”

A rendering of the student housing project.
Provided/LTCC and JK Architecture Engineering

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