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At Lake Level, October 2019 The official newsletter of the City of South Lake Tahoe

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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 click here. The monthly newsletter is prepared by City Manager Frank Rush in an effort to keep our community well-informed about City issues and initiatives.

Development Commodities Available at No Cost for Qualified Affordable Housing, Town Center, and Distressed Property Development

The City Council has identified affordable housing as a top priority for the City of South Lake Tahoe, and the City is now offering various City-owned development commodities at no cost to developers in order to advance the City’s housing goals. Development commodities are also available at no cost for qualified projects that redevelop distressed buildings and replace them with new facilities that meet current development standards.

The City maintains an inventory of residential units of use (RUUs), tourist accommodation units (TAUs), commercial floor area (CFA), and land coverage, and is specifically seeking to utilize these assets to promote the City’s housing and development goals. The City’s new policy for the disposition of these commodities allows for the provision of commodities at no cost for the following qualified projects:

  • Single-family and multi-family residential projects that are deed-restricted to accommodate low, very-low, and moderate income families,
  • Multi-family residential and mixed-use development projects that are located within an established Town Center (Tourist Core, Ski Run area, Bijou area, Al Tahoe area, and The Y) and that provide housing (at any income level) for local workers, and
  • •The redevelopment of distressed buildings, and the replacement of such with new housing, mixed-use, or commercial development.

Developers interested in proceeding with a project that can benefit from these no cost commodities should contact Kevin Fabino, Director of Development Services, at 530-542-6010 or kfabino@cityofslt.us, or Frank Rush, City Manager, at 530-542-6000 or frush@cityofslt.us for more information. The City is actively pursuing numerous strategies to promote and encourage additional affordable housing opportunities for our residents.

Do You Own a Larger, Distressed Property in South Lake Tahoe? Do You Want to Sell?

As the City seeks to consolidate existing City funds and accumulate additional funds earmarked specifically for affordable housing initiatives, the City will be considering the purchase of larger, distressed properties in the City for the future development of new affordable housing units.

The City seeks to work cooperatively with existing property owners who may be interested in such an opportunity, with the ultimate goal of removing the distressed building(s), converting to vacant property, and offering the property to a qualified affordable housing developer(s) for the construction of quality, new, deed-restricted housing in our community. If you have an interest in exploring these possibilities, please contact Frank Rush, City Manager, at 530-542-6000 or frush@cityofslt.us .

City Awarded State Grant Funds to Make Development of New Housing Easier and Faster

The City was recently awarded a $160,000 grant from the State of California that will be used to streamline the City’s development ordinances and development review processes to make it easier and faster for developers to secure approval for new multi-family housing developments. This effort will also include a review of City ordinances to promote the use of accessory dwelling units, and is another element of the City’s ongoing efforts to promote the availability of affordable housing in South Lake Tahoe.

City Awarded Nearly $1.5 Million Fire Staffing Grant

The City was recently notified that it has been awarded a nearly $1.5 million Federal grant that will fund more than half of the cost of 7 new firefighter positions over the next three years. The new firefighters will be assigned to Fire Station 2 in the Al Tahoe area, and will enable the City to reopen that station in early 2020 after the new firefighters are hired.

The City is currently recruiting for these new positions, and interested individuals should click here to learn more and apply. The City’s Human Resources team is also available to assist interested applicants, and can be reached at 530-542-6050.

New, Expanded Economic Impact Analysis for US 50 SSCRP

The City continues to be more engaged in planning efforts for the US 50 South Shore Community Revitalization Project (US 50 SSCRP), and City Council recently directed City staff to solicit proposals from qualified consulting firms for the completion of a new, expanded economic impact analysis of the multi-faceted project sponsored by the Tahoe Transportation District (TTD). The proposed US 50 SSCRP includes the realignment of US 50 on the mountain-side of the Heavenly Village area, the creation of an enhanced “main street”-type environment through Heavenly Village and Stateline, the relocation of residents in the Rocky Point neighborhood and construction of new, affordable replacement housing, new amenities in the Rocky Point neighborhood, and more.

The new analysis will expand on previous studies completed by the TTD in 2013 and 2018, and will include a more comprehensive review of the economic impact of the project on the entire City (beyond the immediate project area), the impacts during the project construction period, the impact of the project on the Lake Tahoe Unified School District, the economic implications of not constructing the project, and more. The new, expanded economic analysis is expected to be completed by mid-2020, and will be used to better inform the City Council’s and the community’s future decisions regarding the US 50 SSCRP.

Solar Panel Installation Underway at Airport, Additional Solar Planned

The City’s partner, Staten Solar, is currently installing solar panels on the rooftops of three City-owned hangars at the Lake Tahoe Airport, and the new facilities are expected to be operational later this year. The new solar panels are expected to provide 95% of electricity needed to operate the Lake Tahoe Airport, and will also net the City approximately $520,000 in rental fees and energy savings over the 20-year agreement.

The City is pleased to partner with Staten Solar on this project, and will soon solicit proposals from interested partners for the installation of new solar panels on other City-owned buildings. The City remains committed to achieving its goal of relying on 100% renewable energy by 2032.

New Bathrooms Installed at Campground By The Lake

City staff and contractors have completed the installation of two new restroom buildings at the Campground By The Lake, and the City is pleased to have these new facilities available for the 2020 camping season. The new restrooms replace aging and deteriorating facilities, and were funded exclusively by campground fees.

Sierra Boulevard Complete Streets Project Nearing Completion

The Sierra Boulevard complete streets project is nearing completion, and is expected to be open for public use in the next several weeks. This grant-funded project includes comprehensive street rehabilitation, a new multi-use path, new sidewalks, bicycle lanes, storm water improvements, new streetlights, and landscaping, and will dramatically improve the function, safety, and aesthetics of the Sierra Boulevard corridor.

The City is pleased to complete the project, and appreciates the patience of area residents during the 6-month construction period. Stay tuned for additional information about the formal ribbon-cutting ceremony for this significant City improvement!

Recreation and Swim Complex Analyses Underway

The City has commissioned various analyses of the existing Recreation and Swim Complex to determine the presence of hazardous materials (asbestos, lead paint), code-compliance issues, and the overall integrity of the existing building to enable City Council to make a decision whether to complete a comprehensive renovation / expansion of the existing building OR construct a completely new facility. The results of these analyses are expected to be presented to City Council in early 2020, at which time City Council is expected to determine the path forward for this project. Regardless which option is pursued, the City is expected to begin detailed design in early or mid-2020, and proceed to construction as soon as design and permitting is completed. The City is hopeful that the new facility will be open to the public within the next 3 years.

The existing Recreation and Swim Complex includes approximately 39,000 square feet and was opened in 1975. The existing building includes a 6-lane, 25 yd indoor / outdoor swimming pool, gymnasium, commercial kitchen, weight room, public meeting / activity rooms, and more, and is nearly 45 years old. The new facility will be funded with proceeds from Measure P, an additional 2% transient occupancy tax approved by the voters in 2016. The City has accumulated approximately $8.5 million in a special reserve fund since 2016, and continues to generate approximately $2.5 - $3 million annually for the future construction of the new facility. Depending on the selected strategy (renovation / expansion OR a completely new facility), the City expects to finance the new facility with a combination of accumulated Measure P reserve funds, grant funds, and new debt that would be serviced exclusively by future Measure P transient occupancy tax revenues.

City Developing New Wireless Communications Facilities Regulations

City staff are currently working to develop a new wireless communications facilities ordinance for consideration by the Planning Commission and City Council later this year or in early 2020. The new ordinance will govern the future location and construction of both large cell tower facilities and small-cell wireless facilities in South Lake Tahoe, and will seek to strike a careful balance between the need for improved wireless coverage in our community and neighborhood concerns. The City expects to solicit significant public input, industry input, input from advocates for improved wireless coverage in South Lake Tahoe, and objective third-party analyses in drafting and approving a new ordinance.

It is important to note that any new ordinance will not apply to previously-approved wireless communications facilities. The Planning Commission approved several small-cell wireless facilities in 2018 and two new large cell tower facilities earlier in 2019, and the installation of these facilities is ongoing. The lone exception is a pending appeal of a proposed new large cell tower to be located on Needle Peak Road, and this appeal is expected to be formally considered by the City Council in December.

It is also important to note that, under Federal regulations, the City is not permitted to deny proposed new wireless communications facilities that meet Federal standards for radio-frequency emissions. The City currently relies on compliance with Federal standards when reviewing permit applications and considering appeals, and the City’s new ordinance will continue this approach.

First Cannabis Development Agreement Approved Under New Adult-Use Cannabis Ordinance

The City Council recently approved the first cannabis development agreement authorized under the City’s new adult-use cannabis ordinance. Redefining Organics, LLC, operating from a facility on Industrial Avenue, was awarded the first development agreement for the operation of a cannabis microbusiness. Under the terms of the 5-year agreement, Redefining Organics will operate a cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution business, will provide a 6% community benefit fee to the City for investment in beneficial services and programs, and will support various charitable endeavors in the South Lake Tahoe area through direct contributions and employee volunteer efforts.

The City is pleased to complete the approval process for the first microbusiness, and looks forward to a beneficial partnership. Redefining Organics joins Tahoe Wellness Cooperative (operating retail, cultivation, and manufacturing enterprises prior to the adoption of the City’s new ordinance, which included a provision for continued operation by Tahoe Wellness Cooperative) as the two currently approved cannabis businesses in South Lake Tahoe. The City Council is expected to consider development agreements with three additional retail applicants and one additional micro business applicant in the coming weeks.

FY 19-20 City Budget Adopted

City Council formally adopted the FY 19-20 City budget at its September 17 meeting, enacting a responsible spending plan for the next year (October 1, 2019 – September 30, 2020) that addresses the City Council’s highest priorities for our community.

The new budget includes significant appropriations for Fire, Police, emergency communications, and street maintenance, and includes initial new investment in affordable housing and transit that are expected to be expanded upon in the future. The total City budget, across all funds, for FY 19-20 is $119.1 million, which includes a $47.3 million General fund budget.

City staff and City Council continue work to focus available City resources on the City’s core services, and continue to develop sustainable long-term financing plans for future City capital initiatives - with particular emphasis on public safety and infrastructure needs.

SnowGlobe Agreement Formally Executed

The City and SnowGlobe have executed a new 5-year agreement, which includes the use of the existing venue at the Community Playfields / Lake Tahoe Community College for the first 2 years of the agreement. Planning efforts are underway for SnowGlobe 2019, set for December 29, 30, and 31, with appropriate emphasis on sound management and public safety issues.

SnowGlobe will again end at 10 pm on December 29 and 30, and a decision on the December 31 (New Year’s Eve) end time will be evaluated by a partnership involving City staff, TRPA staff, sound experts, and SnowGlobe management. The partnership will be working to devise effective sound management strategies that comply with TRPA noise requirements to enable SnowGlobe to conclude the final night shortly after midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Come on Out to the Bijou Bash – Saturday, October 19!

The City of South Lake Tahoe is bringing back the Bijou Bash this year! The family-friendly event will be held in Bijou Park and is intended to be a fun community celebration!

The event will take place at Bijou Park on Al Tahoe Boulevard, and will include 6 different food trucks including burgers, BBQ, comfort food, and plenty of desserts. We’ll also have carnival games, including inflatable ax throwing, face painting, and live music from the band “Front Porch.”

The Bijou Bash will also be the public’s first chance to buy brand new City of South Lake Tahoe “swag” with the new City logo - we’ll be selling long sleeve t-shirts, sweatshirts, travel mugs, and beanies!

Bring your family and friends, and come on out and celebrate with us!

New Sister City – Ameca, Jalisco, Mexico

Join Us for a Special Reception with Ameca Municipal President on October 15

City Council recently approved a new Sister City relationship with the City of Ameca, Jalisco, Mexico - a City of approximately 60,000 people located between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta in central Mexico. Ameca is located at an elevation of approximately 4,000 feet above sea level, and is bisected by the Ameca River. Most importantly, many residents of South Lake Tahoe hail from and/or have family roots in Ameca, and this new Sister City relationship symbolizes the important link between the two communities and provides a foundation for future cultural exchanges between the two cities.

The City will host the Honorable Juan Valentin Serrano Jimenez, Municipal President of Ameca, at a special reception in City Council Chambers at the Lake Tahoe Airport on Tuesday, October 15 from 4:30 – 5:30 pm (prior to regular City Council meeting that evening). Please come on out and welcome our new partner from Ameca!

Join Our Team – Employment Opportunities Available!

We’d love to have you consider joining our team of City employees who are working diligently to enhance the quality of life in South Lake Tahoe! The City has several full-time, temporary, and seasonal employment opportunities, so to check out the list, click here.

Did you know?

City Council recently approved the City of South Lake Tahoe’s formal recognition of Indigenous Peoples Day, replacing the previous reference to Columbus Day. The City will celebrate Indigenous People’s Day on Monday, October 14, and City offices (and many other institutions) will be closed in observance of Indigenous Peoples Day.

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"