County to Process More Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Permits


The days of “ping ponging” between North Lake Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe to get a permit from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency are coming to an end. On Oct. 25, the TRPA Governing Board voted unanimously to increase the number of permit types Placer County can process on the TRPA’s behalf, saving customers time and transportation costs. In addition to the TRPA residential permitting that the county already performs, beginning in spring 2018, the county Community Development Resource Agency in Tahoe City will offer a one-stop shop to customers requiring TRPA permits for certain commercial, tourist, and mixed-used projects located in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The move will allow county staff to shepherd projects through the entire project review process. Info: (530) 886-4515


Fewer Christmas Tree Permits Available


The Tahoe, Eldorado, and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests are once again selling Christmas trees permits. In Tahoe, permits are available for $15 at the North Lake Tahoe Visitors Center — but this year only half of the usual number of permits are available, around 2,500. Jean Norman of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit explained that their tree thinning programs have been so successful that there simply aren’t as many trees available this year. The adjacent Eldorado National Forest has 4,500 permits available at $10 each. Permits in Eldorado and Tahoe can be obtained starting Nov. 13. Lastly, in Humboldt-Toiyabe permits go on sale Nov. 1 and are $5. Keep in mind that all permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis and they sell out fast — last year the Tahoe permits were sold out by Dec. 9. ~ AG

Luxury Housing Market Steady in North Lake Tahoe and Truckee Area


According to a report by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, a total of 35 luxury condominiums and townhomes, defined as priced $1 million and higher, sold in the first nine months of 2017, an increase from 27 total sales in the first nine months of 2016. As sales increased, the median sales price of luxury condos and townhomes slipped to $1,255,000 from $1,500,000 during the same time last year. Single-family luxury home sales slipped to 183 total sales year-to-date from 204 in the first nine months of 2016, representing a 10.3 percent decrease. Prices fell marginally from a median sales price of $1,735,000 to $1,600,000. Luxury single-family homes sold at a faster pace in the first nine months of 2017 than in 2016, with properties selling in a median of 58 days, down from 79 days in 2016

Website Improvements Benefit Liberty Utilities Customers


Good news for #snowmageddon survivors. The real-time outage map has been improved to display greater details so customers have more information about both unplanned and planned outages. Specifically, the map will show if a crew has been dispatched or if they are assessing/working on the problem, for example. Customers can also zoom in to see the outage area, including nearby streets; specific addresses affected by an outage are not shown for security reasons, but even ski runs are visible on this map. Estimated restoration times will be indicated, but customers should continually check for updates as information may change based on what crews discover. Info:

Todd Gordon Mather Takes on Challenging Residential Wine Cellar


Award-winning architect Todd Mather first tried his hand at a wine bar when he designed the interior space for Uncorked, the Tahoe City flagship wine bar owned by Debbie and Marc Metcalf, who have since opened three other locations under the same name in Squaw Valley, Northstar, and Truckee. Mather got to know the Metcalfs while unwinding and sampling wine at the local tasting room after work. It wasn’t long before the couple asked Mather to draft a wine cellar layout for their Tahoe City home in a crawl space below a lower bedroom.

The location is ideal since their four-story home is built on a down-sloping lakefront lot, but the architect grappled with size constraints and challenging excavation work. For example, it took more than a month for the excavation crew to dig down below the home’s foundation walls in order to make the space tall enough to stand in. Crews carried out dirt and rock by hand, in buckets, up 82 steps to the road above where it could be hauled off.

Mather’s design for the wine cellar incorporates exposed beams, natural wood shelving, and soft lighting to highlight the couple’s extensive wine collection. A 40-year old Zinfandel vine was brought in from Sonoma County and cut to just the right size for display at the entrance to the cellar.

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