Tweaked Tahoe Vista project moves ahead |

Tweaked Tahoe Vista project moves ahead

Courtesy illustration/Sierra SunThe site plan for the proposed Tahoe Sands Resorts redevelopment includes 103 guest units and six affordble units on 7.2 acres in the west end of Tahoe Vista.

After six years of repeatedly going back to the drawing board, the proponents of the Tahoe Sands redevelopment in Tahoe Vista have received permission to move forward with the timeshare project’s environmental analysis.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Advisory Planning Commission gave developers the green light to proceed with a joint environmental document that will satisfy the agency’s requirements as well as those set by Placer County. Officials predicted a draft would be released to the public for comment within a year.

In his fourth project application, property owner Jeff Rose reconfigured the development’s layout, moved parking lots, adjusted building height and opened up view corridors to address concerns previously voiced by its Tahoe Vista neighbors.

“This go-around with this latest submittal, I think we’ve made it further in the process in terms of doors opening,” Rose said. “We feel really good about this submittal.”

But Rose said he’s still bracing himself for anticipated public feedback.

“I don’t know how anybody doing a project in Tahoe Vista can avoid that confrontation, for lack of a better word,” he said.

Rose has proposed redeveloping the Tahoe Sands Resort, built as a dormitory for the 1960 Winter Olympic Games, into a timeshare lodging with 103 guest units and six affordable-housing units. The project site covers both sides of Highway 28, and the proposal calls for buildings up to three stories in height.

Architectural styles will draw from the surrounding natural environment, using neutral colors and materials to blend into the mountain setting, Rose said.

The redevelopment falls in line with the 1996 Tahoe Vista Community Plan, which promotes Tahoe Vista as a tourism destination. To meet this goal, the plan encourages “diversification of recreational and commercial attractions to create the high quality development expected in a destination resort community.”

This week, a Placer County planner said the proposal appears consistent with the community’s goals.

“Our community plan encourages this kind of work,” said Allen Breuch from the Placer County Planning Department. “We definitely support what they’re doing ” this revitalization of their property.”

But the neighborhood is the location of several proposed redevelopment projects besides Tahoe Sands. Some residents worry the plans will detract from the town’s character, and if not designed appropriately, place additional strain on Tahoe Vista’s limited infrastructure and capacity.

“The difficulty is that you’ve got to build a project that makes sense. And making sense in today’s world is making money,” said Karen Van Epps, a Tahoe Vista resident involved with the grass-roots North Tahoe Development Watch. “So trying to reach those goals, and to protect the environment and to meet the desires of the community, are very difficult.”

Van Epps acknowledged the changes made in the Tahoe Sands proposal to address community concern. But the details won’t be on the table until the environmental document is released, she said.

The environmental study will analyze the cumulative effects of the Tahoe Sands proposal within the context of other anticipated projects, in addition to the project’s impact on land use, coverage, water quality, lighting, traffic, noise and air quality.

The analysis will review six alternatives, including the developer’s plan, scaled-down versions, an additional affordable-housing option and a no-build alternative.

Tahoe Vista resident Jerry Wotel said he thought the Tahoe Sands developers were sensitive to community desires and concerns. Rearranging the buildings and parking, as well as providing an expansive view corridor, are changes that Wotel cited in describing Tahoe Sands as “one of the better projects.”

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