Readers Reflect | January 2023

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In response to Amendments to Basin Area Plan Aim to Ease North Tahoe Development

Be Careful of Changes…

I am a resident of both sections of Placer County and experience firsthand, on a daily basis, the negative impacts that have resulted from when the county’s only objective is to increase tax revenue. The original ordinances were long thought-out decisions that the community made to not only protect the environment of North Lake Tahoe, but also protect the future of Tahoe as a sought-out destination with growth and development that would not exceed the current ordinances.

For planners, there is more to a “Basin Plan” than just housing and new development. Items such as what’s called the Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem need to be taken into account. With more density comes more people. Just a few weeks ago I spent more than eight hours in the hospital in Roseville for a chest x-ray. In talking to the staff, it was explained that the facility is no longer large enough for the increased population. Patients were being staged in the hallways; and this wasn’t even during the peak Covid time. Please check if Placer County has consulted and has obtained approval from Mr. Weis, the president of Tahoe Forest Hospital, Mr. Ward, the hospital’s chief operating officer, and Ms. Lida, the chief nursing officer, to confirm that the staff and facilities that currently exist at the Tahoe Forest Hospital can support the increase in population being requested by Placer County.

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The changes to the height and footprint being proposed by Placer County triggers larger ladder trucks for the fire department, which then requires increased indoor apparatus bays to store and maintain the equipment. The increase in height and footprint of the proposed structures also requires full access by the fire department around the structure. Please confirm that Placer County has consulted with Mr. Leighton, the fire chief for North Tahoe Fire before recommending approval of the proposed code changes.

With high density development, one of the major downfalls is that you have concentrated a larger traffic volume into a small area. An example that this condition created in Roseville is the high-density developments west of Fiddyment Road. Blue Oaks and Pleasant Grove boulevards are now backed up daily from Highway 65 to this area of recent development. With the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, the secondary support road structure does not exist for adequate evacuation.

More involvement from the agencies noted above is required before major changes made to the “Basin Plan” are approved.

~ Jim Sajdak, Tahoe City, via letter

Pay Attention and Act!

Over the past several years we have seen here at the lake a continuing conflict between those who favor more development and those who want to maintain the current scene. There are many who believe that more development will solve the Lake Tahoe area problems with housing and congestion. Others are not so sure and want to see real world examples of just how that has worked out in other places. Recently, these two viewpoints clashed in open forums in the North Lake Tahoe area. The local advisory board — North Tahoe Regional Advisory Board — held several presentations open to the public. Although these were originally NOT well publicized, local citizen groups including North Tahoe Preservation Alliance, Mountain Area Preservation, Friends of the West Shore, and the Sierra Club, got on board with both feet, and at the most recent meeting over 100 local area citizens were present to speak out about proposed amendments. These amendments to the Tahoe Basin Area Plan were originally conceived and proposed to the NTRAC by only seven local business owners and primarily would result in relaxed standards for height, width, and density throughout the North Shore. These new standards were being hastily pushed onto the Board of Supervisors for approval. In response to the coordinated efforts of the local conservation groups, we hope that the Placer County staff and TRPA will take a far longer, deeper look at what they were proposing to accept. Once again this shows the need for all of us who love the lake to stay in touch with local preservation groups and stay involved. Moonshine Ink does a good job of keeping tabs on developments at the lake, but their efforts will only be useful if citizens follow up and show up and make their voices heard at local planning meetings.

~ Richard Beaty, Kings Beach, via letter

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