SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – A Memo of Understanding (MOU) to show the cooperative and constructive intent to build affordable housing between the City of South Lake Tahoe, Tahoe Transportation District, Pacific Development Group and United Housing Corporation was to be voted on during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
While everyone present recognized affordable housing would be beneficial to the community, the Council postponed the vote due to Mayor Brooke Laine’s absence due to a family emergency. Councilmember Tami Wallace asked for the delay due to the importance of the decision before them.
The MOU lays out the roles of each party to bring forward affordable housing projects associated with the US 50 South Shore Community Revitalization Project. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) permit on that project requires 109 new replacement units to be built prior to the rerouting of Highway 50 takes place.
Pacific Development Group has worked to obtain five parcels at the corner of Ski Run Boulevard and Pioneer Trail to build their project while United Housing Corporation has one lot near Raley’s at Stateline.
The proposed MOUs represent the first step in the process of pursuing the development of affordable housing units on parcels close to where people will be displaced from, per their input. Formal decisions on project sites, scopes, designs, etc. will be included in formal development agreements, and will be presented for formal City Council consideration in the future after additional project planning progresses.
There was a concern the delay in the Council vote would push the project out too far as the TTD board still has to sign their portion of the MOU. They met in Incline Village Friday and approved delay until their end of September meeting.
The Council is scheduled to have the MOU before them at their August 20 meeting.
There were a few speakers at Tuesday’s meeting spoke on the topic.
Lew Feldman, representing Pacific Development Group, said they understood Councilmember Wallace’s request to postpone the vote.
Steve Teshara, chief executive officer of the Tahoe Chamber, said while putting together an affordable housing project is timely and the sooner the Council can act on it the better, he understood the situation with Laine’s absence.
Bruce Grego said the MOU would be an impressive step for the City and all would like to see housing added to the community. He said the delay in a vote though would give everyone more time to review.
Duane Wallace of the South Tahoe Chamber questioned the motive behind the MOU and was suspicious of a hurry to get the housing elements moving forward. He said it gave the impression the City is behind the US50 project and reminded the Council that the previous group of electeds was voted out. He said he was concerned with displacing residents and the gentrification of neighborhoods.
Rebecca Bryson, a housing advocate and part of the Tahoe Prosperity Center, said she was in support of the two new proposed housing projects that would bring over 100 new units to South Lake Tahoe and was interested in hearing from the Council about their concerns.
The goal of TTD is to bring in 200 new units of affordable housing, according to their District Manager Carl Hasty.
Councilman Cody Bass said he wants the City to be in the driver’s seat and said the Council wants to support all housing projects, even those beyond the US50 project.