Vista Village runs into opposition at hearing |

Vista Village runs into opposition at hearing

Neighbors of the proposed Vista Village in Tahoe Vista criticized the affordable housing project at a meeting in Kings Beach Wednesday of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency governing board.

More than 80 people attended the bistate planning agency hearing that was held to gather public reaction to the project’s draft environmental impact report, wrapping up the 60-day public comment period that closes June 1.

The agency’s governors did not take any action, although several board members asked for clarification of the development’s phases, the need for affordable housing and the cumulative environmental impacts of all the projects proposed in Tahoe Vista.

“The board is concerned about preserving the community character at Tahoe Vista, but the board also recognizes the great need for affordable housing,” said agency spokeswoman Julie Regan.

The governing board is tentatively scheduled to take action on the workforce housing project’s environmental document in July. However, all public comments need to be addressed prior to any decision.

Project opponents contended that Vista Village is too dense for Tahoe Vista’s existing infrastructure, would complicate traffic congestion and place additional strain on public utilities and services. The critics also said the affordable housing’s environmental impact needs to be considered within the context of a greater development boom in Tahoe Vista.

The housing project would increase Tahoe Vista’s population by 40 percent, said Tahoe Vista resident Leah Kaufman, who is a land-use planner.

Advocates stressed the basin’s overwhelming need for affordable housing.

Truckee’s three workforce housing developments each have year-long waiting lists with over 150 families waiting for available units, said Executive Director Rachelle Pellissier of the Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe.

“We badly need workforce housing,” Pellissier told the governing board.

Many of the opponents said they favored affordable housing, but argued that the proposed Vista Village would have too many units and the environmental study does not accurately address water quality, land coverage, road use or the potential blight of a neighboring trailer park. Several opponents said they would prefer 40 to 50 units over the proposed 72.

Project officials said they have honored a long-standing commitment to compromise with the community, most notably by cutting in half the number of proposed units from 152 with 50 percent land coverage to 72 units and 30 percent coverage.

“We really did work to reach out to the community,” said Vice President Andrea Clark of Pacific West Communities, the affordable housing project’s developer. She noted that the proponents had held workshops and meetings with key community figures.

“The developer is keeping a very open mind,” said Kaufman, who added that the community is willing to reach a solution as well.

“Just from my perspective, the project could be better. It could be fantastic,” she said.

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