Placer encourages growth in north Tahoe cities rather than undeveloped areas

Bob and Gail Hetler of Berkeley have lunch at Jake’s on the Lake in Tahoe City. May 29, 2010
Bob and Gail Hetler of Berkeley have lunch at Jake’s on the Lake in Tahoe City. May 29, 2010 acruz@sacbee.com

Placer County supervisors approved a development plan intended to improve the economy of north Tahoe.

The county’s Tahoe Basin Area Plan aims to direct growth away from undeveloped areas and encourage redevelopment in Kings Beach and Tahoe City. The plan offers incentives for building in towns, including relaxed restrictions on building height and density, and covers the northwest corner of Lake Tahoe.

As part of the plan, supervisors also voted to approve the Tahoe City Lodge, a 118-unit redevelopment project that needed the higher building height limit of four floors and the denser floor plan requirement.

Supervisors voted 5-0 in favor of the plan and the lodge.

The county acted in response to a development plan update by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. In the 2012 regional plan, TRPA called for local governments on the Nevada and California sides of the lake to update their own development plans to reflect the agency’s regional goals, especially its emphasis on redevelopment in towns.

Representatives of the Sierra Club and Friends of the West Shore, a preservation group, spoke against the plan, saying it would increase traffic in an area already overwhelmed by vehicles.

But the majority of residents who spoke to the board favored the plan and especially the Tahoe City Lodge, which they said will replace a long-blighted property.

Both Kings Beach and Tahoe City have lost population in recent years, a result of the high cost of housing, county planners say.

The plan removes restrictions on secondary housing, such as in-law and rental units, on existing homes.

Supervisor Kirk Uhler wanted to delay passage of the plan so the county could better spell out how it will meet the need for affordable housing in the area.

Supervisors decided to go forward, however. Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, who represents the Tahoe area, said the plan marks a good start to the affordable housing problem by removing secondary housing restrictions, and the county can address Uhler’s concerns in the near future.