Laulima Partners LLC has proposed the Kings Beach Lakeside Redevelopment project to dismantle two existing and one suspended motel, and upgrade to a residential-commercial combination.
Despite Placer County planning staff’s recommendation to adopt the proposal, the planning commission voted 6:0:1 to continue the item to an open date. They directed the developer and planning staff to work more closely with the community, citing Kings Beach residents’ discomfort and lack of familiarity with the proposed development.
It’s a long time coming, said Megan Chillemi, a Kings Beach resident who sits on the North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council as seat one.
“There have been no opportunities [for public comment], not in three years,” Chillemi said. “2016 was the last presentation. They came to [give a] formal NTRAC presentation last August, but [nothing else]. Plus, the website has been down and that was supposed to provide information.”
Moonshine Ink reached out to David Bouquillon of Laulima Partners LLC, owner of the property and project, for comment, but was unable to make contact after multiple attempts. Brian Helm, project manager with Paradigm8, requested that all communication go through Bouquillon, and respectfully declined to comment on the project’s behalf.
The development is more than just a 1.85-acre lot spanning Brockway Vista Drive and fronting North Lake Boulevard; to Chillemi, it represents the future of Kings Beach. If one developer is successful in “putting up fences and houses to obstruct the views and prohibit access” (as Chillemi’s husband Jack puts it), they’ll all be successful.
“That’s what really concerns me,” Chillemi said. “If this project goes forward, that’s going to be Kings Beach; future development is going to be condos. We’ll look like Incline Village.”
Theresa May Duggan, Kings Beach resident and community organizer, said the community as a whole isn’t necessarily opposed to the development, but there is a strong desire to keep the local spirit in mind.
“We want [the planned development] to succeed,” Duggan said. “There wasn’t one person [at the July 25 planning commission meeting] who was there because they didn’t want something to happen. Usually you’ve got that going on … We want something to happen. Kings Beach is not afraid of redevelopment.”
As it stands, the project goes against the Placer County Tahoe Basin Area Plan, says Jack Chillemi, who, like Duggan, was a member of the area plan team.
“Here’s the deviation,” he said. “When we got together, unanimously we wanted to designate two areas: the lake side and the mountain side. And the reason for this is we wanted mostly industrial and commercial applications and institutional and cultural … to be on the lake side, the beach side, and residential mostly on the mountain side.”
The area plan team recognized Lake Tahoe as a national treasure to which everyone should have access and a sightline.
Placer County planning staff uses the area plan as a guiding document — it’s a “blueprint for how we look at projects,” said Allen Breuch, supervising planner with the county. The mixed-use requirement is defined with respect to overall land use, checking the boxes of commercial and residential, rather than prescribing a percentage for each. So, according to Placer policy, the mix of three commercial buildings and 10 residential fits the bill.
The area plan defines mixed-use areas as urban areas providing a combo of commercial, public services, light industrial, office, and residential uses to the region.
“There’s over 30,047 square feet of residential space, plus an additional 2,123 square feet for the homeowners’ amenity building … and there’s only 3,645 square feet of commercial space,” Megan Chillemi said. “That is a 9 to 1, almost a 10 to 1 ratio; that’s not mixed use.”
So what would she see as truly befitting the designation? “Mixed use to us is you have retail space down below, and then your second and third floors are condos or apartments. That’s mixed use, Megan Chillemi continued. “This is a residential project that’ll be sitting right smack in the middle of our town center.”
Breuch’s response is simple: “We have a different take on it.”
The planning commission’s direction to the developer to work with the community means Jack Chillemi feels more positive about the process. Two weeks ago, he said he wouldn’t have been so sure. Now, however, he knows the community will show up and point out that “you can’t have [an] almost 90% residential [development] be mixed use.”
His confidence isn’t just anecdotal. Jack Chillemi has compiled a community petition opposing the project.
“There were actually 214 signatures presented on July 25 to the planning commission,” he told Moonshine Ink in an email, “plus 380 signatures … I have received over 130 more signatures since … [August 16], and estimate there will be over 1,000 signatures on these petitions by the end of August.”
There’s no immediate deadline for progression, and Breuch said the timeline is purposely fuzzy. Based on responses and directives from NTRAC and the planning commission, the applicant could change the project enough to necessitate a completely new environmental document.
To say the least, that means new renderings, updated modifications, and more public review periods. Breuch wants NTRAC’s feedback, too, on the updates made.
“Then the planning commission will deliberate and decide at that point after additional public input,” Breuch said. “That’s why it’s an open date, and I’m glad it is because I want to analyze it thoroughly. I want to take something that can mitigate, that can make sense, that the planning commission knows we vetted out.”
Main Image Caption: THE PROPOSAL: Laulima Partners LLC has proposed a mixed-use development for a portion of Kings Beach’s lakeshore, which will move inland, spanning Brockway Vista Drive and fronting North Lake Boulevard. This rendering shows some of the residential developments. Image courtesy Paradigm8