In response to coverage of TRPA and Placer, Washoe counties

Kings Beach Has Questions for the County

Placer County has paid close to $15 million for the King Beach Town center property, and close to $3 million for the Eastern Gateway property, plus an excess of 10 years of demo cost and staff time and no payment of property taxes.

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The board of supervisors as the seller for whatever reason gave [the option to buy] to the Clark Group in December 2017, and instructed staff to enter into a contract, opening escrow for $4 million ($3 million for the town center and $1 million for the Eastern Gateway). Why such a low price and why not accept any back-up offers?

The contract given to the developers required a mere $25,000 down payment with two more $25,000 extensions, which were fully refundable if they did not move on with the project for a period of three years. On March 9, 2021, with no input from the Kings Beach community or anyone else, the board decided to give another three-year extension with little or no performance on the original contract.

Why has the county not put this contract up to rebid for the original bidder as well as other potential bidders which may be better positioned to get the projects done?

There are many other citizens of Kings Beach which have similar questions as to the future of Kings Beach and the actions of Placer County in the way it treats us.

~ Jim Gardiner, Kings Beach, via letter

TRPA, Counties Need to Address Project Failures

Homewood Mountain Resort and Boulder Bay have failed the community. It’s been over a decade now, and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Community Enhancement Program, Boulder Bay and Homewood, have failed to complete best management practices or improve water quality. Homewood has left a boarded-up mess at the Tahoe Inn in Brockway, the property tagged and toxic with mold.

Boulder Bay is starting up again with massive condo towers while again trying to take our fourth exit out of the Crystal Bay neighborhood through abandonment. The residents better have wings if there is a fire because the site is strewn with rusted junk and falling down buildings. Both the Tahoe Inn and parts of the Boulder Bay property are health and safety issues. Placer County won’t help. Washoe County won’t help. JMA won’t clean up their mess in Homewood, but they are beginning the process of building luxury condos. The excuse for their failure to demolish the Tahoe Inn is that it wasn’t a condition of approval and “they needed to divert funds elsewhere.” In fact, razing the Tahoe Inn is a condition of transferring their TAUS and Placer County failed to include it in their conditions. The residents are furious.

TRPA approved these massive, expensive ideas and now they are morphing into giant condo complexes because that’s the hot commodity in real estate. Condos are a different animal use-wise, and traffic has become brutal in the decade since approval. TRPA must require new traffic studies on both projects.

Both Homewood and Boulder Bay have found a developer’s loophole: phasing. Unbelievably, Homewood is beginning with a phase within a phase. Seven freestanding condos begins the piecemeal planning, thereby avoiding their mitigation requirements concerning fire evacuation and Tahoe Inn demo. Boulder Bay began with 18 condos, avoiding the triggers of their mitigations.

TRPA, you can resurrect and improve the program with enforcement. Hold Homewood’s and Boulder Bay’s feet to the fire to complete mitigations before a shovel hits the ground. Make the counties require Homewood demolish the Tahoe Inn and Boulder Bay demolish their derelict buildings (Cabins, Crystal Bay Motel). Smaller projects like Tonopalo 2 and the Hendrickson building were removed in advance of development.

TRPA, Cindy Gustafson, and Alexis Hill: Help your communities. Require Homewood and Boulder Bay clean up their mess before they develop. The community is fed up.

Please send your concerns to me at preserve@ntpac.org.

~ Ann Nichols, Crystal Bay, via letter

In response to Truckee’s STR ordinance passing

A Step Forward for Short-Term Rental Regulation

The Truckee STR ordinance that went into effect this year is a bold and long-overdue step forward. The ordinance already has made a significant difference in the occupancy of STRs in our neighborhood and in the behavior of guests. There are some additions that could help even more. First, the ordinance should apply to ski leases and other seasonal rentals as well, since they are associated with the same problems of over-occupancy, loud parties, and an ever-changing cast of characters. Second, dumping of snow and trash on neighbors’ properties should be specific STR violations. Currently, the TOT department does not have the authority to count these violations against an STRs certificate or to fine guests or operators. Third, occupancy limits should be based in part on setbacks or distance to the nearest neighbor. The number of people crammed into a four-bedroom house has a much greater impact when the neighbors are 10 feet away or closer than when the house is in the middle of a multi-acre lot. Finally, the ordinance should specify that designated parking spaces should be code-compliant in size (entirely on the STR’s property) and setbacks, in order to reduce overcrowding in neighborhoods with small lots.

We consider ourselves very lucky and privileged to live in paradise, and we accept that dealing with tourism — which is still the lifeblood of the town — comes with the territory. We would just like to see Truckee continue to regulate STRs in a way that respects neighbors without interfering with the income of STR owners. We hope the town council will consider our suggestions when it reevaluates the ordinance later in the year. And huge thanks to the TOT department and code enforcement for their diligence in enforcing the ordinance.

~ Jack Kashtan, Donner Lake, via letter

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