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At Lake Level, November 2020 The official newsletter of the City of South Lake Tahoe

Sign up for the City Newsletter

The City of South Lake Tahoe is pleased to publish its monthly newsletter - "At Lake Level." You can sign up for the newsletter, and other City News, by texting JOIN NEWS to 30890 or clicking here. The monthly newsletter is prepared by the City Manager's Office in an effort to keep our community well-informed about City issues and initiatives.

Election Day is Nov. 3rd! Go vote!

Vote Centers: Open October 31-November 3, 2020

Locations:

  • California Conversation Corps 1949 Apache Lane 8:30-4:30pm
  • Lake Tahoe Community College: One College Drive Hours: 8:30 am-4:30 pm

Please note: The hours listed above for each Vote Center apply to October 31st to November 2nd only. All Vote Centers will be open from 7:00 am- 8:00 pm on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd.

"Same Day" Voter Registration: Eligible citizens who need to register or re-register to vote can complete this process to register at the Vote Center. Their ballots will be processed and counted once the county elections office has completed the voter registration process.

Drop Boxes: Open October 6-November 3, 2020

Locations:

  • South Lake Tahoe Library: 1000 Rufus Allen Blvd (Hours: 24-hour drive-up)
  • Holiday Market: 2977 US Hwy 50 (Hours: 7:00 am-9:00 pm)
  • Grocery Outlet South Lake Tahoe: 2358 Lake Tahoe Blvd (Hours: 7:00 am-9:00 am)

Please note: All Drop Boxes will be locked at 8:00 pm Election Day, November 3, 2020.

Further Questions about voting? Contact the Registrar of Voters (530) 621-7480 or elections@edcgov.us.

Measure S is on Your Local South Lake Tahoe Ballot.

As residents continue to cast their ballots, we wanted to update you on local Measure S, and local funding needs. On July 14, 2020, the City Council unanimously voted to place Measure S, the South Lake Tahoe Fire Protection, Emergency Response, City Services Measure, on the ballot for consideration by the Lake Tahoe voters. If approved by you, Measure S would enact a 1-cent sales tax , raising approximately $5.4 million per year in locally-controlled funds to address community identified priorities including fire safety, repairing streets and roads, assisting local businesses, and protecting our local water supply.

Measure S was crafted after nearly a year of community outreach — engaging thousands of South Lake Tahoe residents in a community conversation earlier this year. The priorities identified by your neighbors included reducing the threat of wildfires, making sure 911 response times are fast and first responders are able to quickly help those in danger, making sure our roads are safe and repaired, snow removal happens efficiently, and our City and our lake stays safe and clean. Measure S was crafted to address these diverse priorities. Because approximately 50 percent of our sales tax dollars come from visitors to South Lake Tahoe, if Measure S is approved, visitors would pay their fair share for their use of services while in our community, including fire safety, emergency response, and roads. Essential purchases that residents buy frequently such as food purchased as groceries and prescription medication are exempt from Measure S.

The City has already enacted millions in cuts, both this year as a response to COVID-19 and in years past after State takeaways of local funds. In no small part because of past budget reductions, should an additional source of local funds not be identified, the City would be unable make additional cuts without also enacting service reductions, including in the service areas that our residents have told us they value. To date, the City has already reduced funding for basic road repair and rehabilitation and currently does not have funding identified to pay for the much-needed fire and public safety communication system. If enacted by South Lake Tahoe voters, Measure S would provide a locally controlled source of funds to close the funding gap, so the City can fund these programs and projects that our residents have identified as important.

Measure S mandates annual independent financial audits and reports to the community, and the City will make our process as transparent as possible, so if Measure S is passed residents will know exactly where Measure S funds are spent. For factual information on Measure S, please visit us at www.cityofslt.us/MeasureS.

City wants your feedback on new recommended strategic priorities

The City of South Lake Tahoe will be bringing to City Council a new set of recommended priorities, but first, we want to hear from you. City Council founded the ‘Transformative Change Committee’ during the pandemic as a way to identify the best way we can help move this City forward. We have developed a survey to help us understand your needs and what you see in our City’s future. You can take the survey here.

Measure T Update-Vacation Home Rental Lawsuit

South Lake Tahoe voters passed Measure T in the election on November 6, 2018. Measure T was a citizen-initiated ballot measure that amended the City’s vacation home rental ordinance to establish additional restrictions and phase out permits in residential areas and for multi-family properties over 2021.

A group called South Lake Tahoe Property Owners Group challenged Measure T in a lawsuit filed in December 2018, arguing that Measure T violates constitutional rights of property owners. On September 29, 2020, the court issued an order finding most of the constitutional claims to be without merit and eliminating most of the issues from the case. The only issue remaining for trial is whether Measure T unconstitutionally impaired any contracts. The court has not yet set a trial date.

In the meantime, the City is preparing to implement the phase-out of vacation home rental permits beginning in January 2021. In 2021, existing permits in residential zones and permits issued to multi-family properties in all zones will automatically expire on the last day of the month for which the permit would have otherwise been eligible for renewal. For example, if a permit has an annual renewal month of May, the vacation home rental permit will be closed automatically on May 31, 2021. By the end of December 2021, all vacation home rental permits in residential areas and all vacation home rental permits for multi-family properties citywide will have been closed. Vacation home rental permits will continue to be issued in non-residential zones and in the Tourist Core.

Fire Department, Local Agencies Continue to prepare for wildfires, other emergencies

The Fire Department has had a busy summer along with a busy start to fall. With crews from South Lake Tahoe assisting with fires throughout the State, the Fire Department has seen one of the busiest years in recent history for strike team requests. Although staff has been working as hard as ever, they have maintained a positive attitude and eagerness to continue going out on these adventurous assignments. Despite the crews working in other areas of the State, the Fire Department has worked collaboratively with all of the local fire agencies to ensure we have adequate resources available should a major fire breakout in South Lake Tahoe.

With wildfire in mind, the Fire Department and City staff as a whole have been working on preparedness through both community awareness and internal training. The City staff will be participating in their second Emergency Operations Center drill of the year this fall to provide each City department with the tools and knowledge they need should a major incident transpire.

In addition to the season’s wildfire concerns, the Fire Department has focused efforts on water safety and public education regarding recreating on Lake Tahoe. This year has been a challenge with the increase in water emergencies, so the Fire Department has made a push to emphasize water safety and utilization of the City’s life jacket program. Life jackets are available for use at no cost and can be picked up at any of the three City fire stations.

Fire Station 2 reopened, new ladder truck arrives

With the reopening of Fire Station 2 in the Al Tahoe neighborhood, the Fire Department is excited to be placing the new 107’ ladder truck in service this month. The new truck has been in development for a longtime and with the updated equipment and specialized training for the firefighters, the City will have another improvement in the levels of services provided.

SLTPD working TO HELP THOSE MOST VULNERABLE IN OUR COMMUNITY

The South Tahoe Police Department is excited to announce the launching of “South Tahoe Alternative Collaborative Services" (STACS). This collaborative working agreement between local service providers began in October focusing on our local vulnerable population experiencing homelessness, substance use disorders, and/or mental health issues.

STACS will focus on reducing barriers to services, increasing stabilizations, and ending the cycle of homelessness. Participating partners in the STACS working group are: Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless, EDC Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Services, South Lake Tahoe Police Department, Barton Health, South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue, and Cal Tahoe JPA Ambulance.

Body Cameras deployed, Increasing transparency and keeping Community safe

The City Council approved the Axon Body Worn Camera (BWC) system for the Police Department on July 28, 2020. The goal was to have the system operational by October 1, 2020. Since then the Police Department ordered the cameras, installed the infrastructure, and trained all officers and support team members on the use of the cameras. The program was launched during the last week of September and was fully operational by October 1, 2020. The BWC system helps promote transparency and the public’s trust in the Police Department. In addition, the Police officers are very appreciative of this new system.

DESIGN PROCESS UNDERWAY FOR NEW RECREATION CENTER

The Recreation Services team is thrilled to announce the design process for a new Recreation and Aquatics Center is underway. The project has a long history dating back to 2014 when a new Recreation Center was identified by the community as one of the top priorities in the Parks, Trails, and Recreation Master Plan.

In 2016, voters passed Measure P (2% of Transient Occupancy Tax) to fund the implementation of the master plan recommendations and prioritized the new Recreation Center.

In 2019, City and County officials collaborated to advance recreation improvements on the 56 acre parcel located in the center of town near the existing Recreation Center.

The City is currently under contract with JK Architecture Engineering (JKAE) of Tahoe City to update the 2017 preferred design to include accommodations for a Senior Nutrition Program. To learn more about the project go to Recreation and Aquatic Center.

56-Acre Park Master Plan

Development of the 56-Acre Park Master Plan is a collaborative effort of the City of South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County and the California Tahoe Conservancy. Each agency is supporting this effort with hopes to make the Plan area a locally and nationally renowned civic space for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. The 56-Acre Master Plan area encompasses the property in the vicinity of the City Recreation Center, Ice Arena, Campground, Senior Center, Library and Lakeview Commons.

The goals of the 56-Acre Park Master Plan focus on environmental sustainability, cultural preservation, provisions for recreational/civic needs, water quality, traffic mitigation, aesthetic improvements, habitat preservation, and creating meaningful world-class facilities and public open space.

The plan will serve to guide the City in capital improvement planning, program planning, maintenance and operational planning, and budgetary decision making. The 56-Acre Park Master Plan process will include public outreach and engagement over the next five months to develop alternatives, infrastructure planning, connectivity planning, facilities development and implementation. Development of the Plan is expected to be completed by March 2021.

The City will be holding a virtual meeting on November 10th, from 5:30-7:00 PM to get feedback from the public. Click the link to learn more.

Self-Guided Tour, Survey for the 56-Acre Plan starts November 2nd

Climate Action Plan has been adopted by City Council

On Tuesday, October 20th, City Council adopted the Climate Action Plan. Based on the local and state governments goals for emission reduction , the City of South Lake Tahoe has built its own targets, which are more progressive than the State’s.

The Climate Action Plan will provide the guidance that communities need to reach these goals. Emissions reduction strategies will be crafted to provide benefits to public health and safety, economic sustainability, local environmental quality, community resilience, and equity. Furthermore, the Climate Action Plan will render numerous co-benefits.

To learn more go to City of SLT Climate Action Plan.

Winter weather can cause travel to be dangerous

As winter approaches, we are reminded of a few tips that can help us to be safer this winter:

  • Wet or icy road conditions very often provide little margin for error or opportunity for safe, quick braking. Start breaking well before you would under fair weather conditions when driving in ice and snow.
  • Watch for black ice, which frequently forms in shady areas and at night on what appear to be clear dry roads.
  • Be extremely cautious when driving at night throughout the winter months. Excessive speed is frequently the cause of traffic accidents during the winter.
  • When any kind of chain control is in effect the maximum speed limit throughout the City is 25 miles per hour.

Snow Plow Drivers need your help this winter

  • Don’t follow snow removal equipment to closely while in your vehicle. Snow removal operators request that you stay back at least 100 feet because equipment may change directions quickly and without warning. Poor visibility can make it difficult for the operator to see you.
  • Park all vehicles as far off the roadway as possible. It is a violation of South Lake Tahoe City Code to park on any city streets including shoulders during snow removal operations. This ordinance was passed so that snow removal crews can clear City streets, but it also reduces the risk of damage to residents and visitor’s property.
  • Leave the exterior lighting of your home on at night during winter storms. The lights are especially helpful to snow removal operators when visibility is poor and assists them in identifying your driveway and home.
  • It’s best to keep the kids inside during snow removal operations. Children should not play in the yard or build snow forts or caves during snow removal operations, and they should know the dangers associated with snow removal.
  • Please do not try to stop or flag down snow removal operators as they are instructed not to get out of their equipment while conducting snow removal operations. Stopping their equipment interrupts the pace of the operation and slows progress. If you need assistance or have questions, please call the City of South Lake Tahoe at 530-542-6030.

New Stop Signs make local neighborhoods safer

The City’s on-call Traffic Engineer, Wood Rodgers completed a traffic analysis resulting in recommendations to place Stop Signs at several intersections in the City. The traffic study cited poor site distances in the area of Al Tahoe at the intersection of Fresno Avenue and Sacramento Avenue and the area of Rocky Point, between the Pioneer Trail-Glen Road intersection and the Montreal Road-Fern Road Intersection.

It was determined that a four-way stop at the intersection of Fresno and Sacramento Avenue will provide a safer condition for motorists crossing or merging onto Los Angeles Avenue as well as for pedestrians crossing Los Angeles Avenue at Fresno and Sacramento Avenue.

In the area of Rocky Point, four-way stops will also be added at the Chonokis Road & Rocky Point Road intersection, Montreal Road & Moss Road intersection, and Montreal Road & Fern Road intersection. The addition of these Stop Signs is expected to reduce the amount of cut-through traffic in this area of the Fern Rose Subdivision neighborhood. The all-way stop conditions will also reduce the risk to vehicles and pedestrians crossing the intersections from side streets.

Did you know?

Between June 1st and September 30th, 2020 (the City’s fiscal year end), approximately 2,870 business licenses were renewed amounting to $1,484,542 in revenue. This revenue accounts for 3.4% of total preliminary fiscal year 2019/20 General Fund revenue funding approximately 9.5 out of 31 Police Officers, or 9 Fire Engineers out of 38 total Fire safety personnel, budgeted in the General Fund.

Holiday Closures for City of South Lake Tahoe

City offices will be closed on Wednesday, November 11th in observance of Veteran's Day and Thursday, November 26th and Friday, November 27th in observance of Thanksgiving.

Honoring Our Military Veterans

The City would like to thank all those who have served or that are currently serving in the Armed Forces for your time and service.

Happy Thanksgiving from the City of South Lake Tahoe

Credits:

Created with images by Josh Clemence - "Island on a mountain lake" • Nathan Dumlao - "untitled image" • skeeze - "lake tahoe dusk landscape" • Ethan Dow - "untitled image" - "lake tahoe california water"