TRPA’s Villas at Harborside decision delayed
It took the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency board seven hours Wednesday to reach an impasse on the Villas at Harborside timeshare project proposed for Homewood.
The fate of the proposal, which was downsized from nine timeshares to six during the hearing, will be decided at a future planning agency meeting, after a straw vote showed the project would have been denied for a lack of support by California board members.
The project needed five votes from California board members and nine votes overall from the 14 voting members to pass.
The inaction capped nearly three hours of public comment, where opposition from Homewood homeowners, the Tahoe chapter of the Sierra Club and The League to Save Lake Tahoe was equaled by support from West Shore residents and business owners.
“The right decision for Lake Tahoe and the Homewood community is to vote ‘no’ on this project,” said Ben Pignatelli, program advocate for The League to Save Lake Tahoe.
Pignatelli said the traffic and density of the project caused the Lake Tahoe nonprofit to oppose it.
But many full-time residents and West Shore business owners who make their living around Homewood welcomed the plan because they said it would add economic life to the area.
“In the end it’s good for the community,” said Ron Parson, owner of Granlibakken. “We don’t have a vibrant West Shore community because most of the homes don’t have residents in them full time.”
The bistate agency board was conflicted over the plan, with board members picking out problems with the traffic study, the parking and the density of the project. Placer County Supervisor Bruce Kranz, whose District 5 includes the Tahoe basin, said he was concerned with parking and the use of the land for timeshares rather than single-family homes.
He said he wanted the issue continued to a future TRPA meeting even after the project was reduced to six units.
While those issues ultimately kept the project from being approved, many board members supported the plan, albeit in a losing effort.
Board member Allen Biaggi said he believed the developer “was pulled through a knothole,” and that opposition to the project was not based on environmental concerns.
“I haven’t heard a convincing argument that there is going to be environmental degradation,” said Biaggi. “What we are hearing is a lifestyle issue.”
No date has been set for the next hearing on the Villas at Harborside by the planning agency board of governors. But property owner Nate Topol asked that the item not be heard on the same agenda as the Heavenly Mountain Resort Master Plan or the Shorezone Plan, which are scheduled for upcoming meetings.
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