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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 by clicking 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. Scroll down to read more!
City Honors Mrs. Lisa Maloff with Naming of “Lisa Maloff Way”
The City Council recently renamed Airport Road as “Lisa Maloff Way” to honor the “Angel of Tahoe” for her numerous contributions to South Lake Tahoe and the surrounding area. Mrs. Maloff has contributed more than $25 million to various organizations and causes in the South Shore region over the years, and the City extends its most sincere appreciation and gratitude for her generosity and kindness. Thank you, Mrs. Maloff!
City Settles Fire Ladder Truck Lawsuit, Orders New Truck
The City recently settled a lawsuit with Ferrara Fire Apparatus (Holden, LA), the provider of the City’s defective 2014 Fire ladder truck that had been inoperable since delivery. As a result of the settlement, after attorney’s fees, the City realized net proceeds of $1.18 million, and is pleased to have this issue resolved with a favorable outcome for the City.
The City has invested the settlement proceeds in the purchase of a new Fire ladder truck, and recently placed an order with Pierce Manufacturing (Appleton, WI). The purchase price for the new ladder truck is $1.22 million. The new ladder truck will take approximately 10 – 11 months to construct, and the City expects to take delivery of the new truck in spring 2020. The new truck will be housed at Fire Station 2, which is expected to reopen in early 2020.
The new truck includes a 107 ft. rear mounted ladder and a 200-gallon water tank and pump. The new truck will enable the Fire Department to conduct rescues from multi-story buildings and provide for an elevated master stream from the end of the ladder, and will significantly enhance the Fire Department’s response capabilities.
City Advances Several Affordable, Workforce Housing Initiatives
The City Council has identified affordable, workforce housing as a top priority, and the City is working on several new initiatives aimed at addressing this critical issue for our community. New, current efforts include the following:
- Participation in a new regional housing study sponsored by the Tahoe Prosperity Center. This new study, the South Shore Regional Housing Opportunity Assessment and Action Plan, will begin this summer and be complete by early 2020. The City has partnered with other regional government entities and non-profits to complete this comprehensive review of workforce housing issues in South Lake Tahoe and the surrounding areas, and the development of an action plan that will guide the City’s future housing efforts.
- Streamlining of the development review process for multi-family housing projects. City staff have submitted a grant application, which is expected to be awarded in the next few months, to develop objective design and development standards and a ministerial permitting process for multi-family housing projects in South Lake Tahoe. This effort is expected to make it easier, faster, and less costly to complete multi-family housing projects in South Lake Tahoe in the future, and hopefully increase the supply of quality workforce housing in our community.
- City Council recently reviewed the City’s inventory of City owned lands and unspent housing funds, and directed City staff to pursue the beneficial use of these assets for affordable, workforce housing initiatives. City staff are currently developing a request for proposals (RFP) from interested housing developers for the development of new affordable, workforce housing units on City-owned land. City staff expect to release the RFP later this summer or fall.
Additional Police Officer Positions Authorized
Due to chronic understaffing in the South Lake Tahoe Police Department (SLTPD), City Council recently authorized the addition of 2 new Police Officer positions. The new positions will enhance SLTPD’s ability to maintain full staffing levels in the future, which are often impacted by officer injuries and attrition. The new officers will enhance SLTPD’s emergency response and proactive patrol efforts, and also promote officer safety, reduce officer stress, and reduce overtime expense.
Measure T Lawsuit Headed for Formal Mediation This Fall
The City continues to work toward a sustainable compromise on vacation home rentals (VHR), as we seek to move the South Lake Tahoe community beyond this divisive issue in a sincere effort to bring our community together and to enable the City to focus effectively on other challenges and opportunities in the future. City officials continue to work hard to understand the concerns of individuals and groups on both sides of the VHR issue.
The City will be engaging in formal mediation with the plaintiffs (the South Lake Tahoe Property Owners Group) in the Measure T lawsuit in October 2019. This formal mediation effort is an attempt to resolve the lawsuit filed in December 2018 regarding the passage of Measure T in November 2018, with a goal to identify a solution that can be supported by both sides and then presented for consideration by the voters of South Lake Tahoe in 2020. The City remains hopeful that such a solution can be identified, however, if formal mediation does not yield the desired compromise, the lawsuit will likely be decided by the Court sometime in 2020.
If mediation is not fruitful, regardless of which side prevails on the lawsuit, it is possible that the VHR issue may continue to divide our community for the next few years – which is something the City hopes to avoid. There are valid concerns on both sides of the VHR issue, and neither a slim margin at the ballot box nor a Judge’s decision (that may go either way) are likely to resolve this issue in a definitive manner that promotes community cohesiveness. As noted above, the City’s efforts are focused on bringing the community together and moving forward, as opposed to a future that may include continued litigation, additional citizen-initiated ballot measures, and/or a proliferation of “underground” VHR activities.
Solar Projects Advance
Solar panels will be installed on the roofs of hangar buildings at the Lake Tahoe Airport this summer, and will eventually provide nearly all of the energy required to operate the airport and City Hall in the future. In addition to promoting the City’s 100% renewable energy goals, this initiative is also expected to result in more than $500,000 of energy savings and rental income over the next 20 years.
The City continues to explore the potential for solar panel installation at other City facilities, and City Council recently approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the SEED (Solar Energy and Economic Development) Fund for further analysis of solar energy opportunities. If feasible and cost-effective, the City will likely move forward with additional solar installation in 2020 and beyond.
City Seeks to Better Understand Concerns of Rocky Point Neighborhood Regarding US 50 South Shore Community Revitalization Project
The City hosted a special meeting on April 30 to enable City Council and City staff to better understand the concerns of the Rocky Point neighborhood regarding the proposed US 50 South Shore Community Revitalization Project (aka the “Loop Road”). Approximately 20 residents of the Rocky Point neighborhood turned out to ask questions and share concerns, along with residents from other areas of South Lake Tahoe interested in the project. Tahoe Transportation District (TTD; the project sponsor) officials also attended, and City and TTD officials will be incorporating these questions and concerns into future project planning. More focused meetings will be scheduled with Rocky Point property owners and residents later this summer and fall to provide answers to questions and solicit additional feedback.
Sierra Boulevard Project Continues
The City’s contractor, Herback General Engineering, continues work to complete a new complete streetscape on Sierra Boulevard. The contractor is making good progress, and expects to complete work by October. The 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.
City Actively Seeking Grant Funding for Additional Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities
City Council recently approved grant funding requests for several future bicycle and pedestrian projects in the following areas of South Lake Tahoe:
- Pioneer Trail, from Larch Avenue to Ski Run Boulevard
- Lake Tahoe Boulevard, from South Tahoe High School to The Y
- Al Tahoe Boulevard, from Johnson Boulevard to US 50
- The Tahoe Valley Greenbelt project, near B Street and US 50
- A new multi-use path between Palmira Avenue and Silver Dollar Avenue, to connect the Sierra Boulevard project to the existing South Lake Bikeway.
If the City’s applications are approved, it is likely that these grant funds will be awarded incrementally over the next few years, with construction occurring as soon as possible thereafter.
City Council has assigned a high priority to bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and City staff will be working hard to identify additional funding and construct these beneficial projects – both as an alternative form of transportation and for recreational use.
Cannabis Application Scoring Results To Be Released on June 7
A specially-appointed, volunteer committee has completed its review and scoring of applications for adult-use cannabis business permits. The City received a total of 18 applications for retail permits, 2 applications for microbusiness permits, and 1 application for a cultivation permit.
The scoring results will be released by the City on Friday, June 7 and posted here. Following the release of scoring results, the top applicants will be invited to apply for a special public safety license and negotiate a formal development agreement with the City. Ultimately, a total of 3 retail permits and 2 microbusiness permits are expected to be awarded sometime this fall.
City Council Being Educated on Homelessness Issues in SLT
In an effort to become better educated on the complex issue of homelessness in our community, the City Council is receiving presentations from 3 groups offering different insights. City Council received a presentation in May from the Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless, with data and experiences from the Warm Room, the winter temporary homeless shelter in South Lake Tahoe. In June, City Council will hear from El Dorado County about their efforts to address homelessness, and also receive a presentation from the South Lake Tahoe Police Department offering their perspectives. The City will be working cooperatively with other agencies in the future to address this complex issue with compassion and practical solutions.
New Restrooms Coming to Campground By The Lake
City Council recently authorized the purchase of two new pre-fabricated restroom buildings for installation later this fall at the Campground By The Lake. The new buildings will replace two significantly deteriorated restroom facilities that have been in poor condition for several years. The use of pre-fabricated buildings will significantly reduce disruption and down-time in the campground, should enable the installation at the end of the 2019 camping season, and be fully functional in time for the 2020 camping season.
Bijou Municipal Golf Course Now Open!
Bijou Municipal Golf Course opened for the 2019 season on Memorial Day weekend, and offers a fun, reasonably-priced golf experience in a beautiful natural setting. Come on out with friends and family, and enjoy 9 holes for as little at $11 (youth rate), $18 (adult rate), or $22 (1 adult and 1 youth). No golf clubs? – golf club rentals are available for $15. Reservations are available, and walk-ons are also welcome. For more information, please call (530) 542-6097.
City Seeking Fire Chief Applicants
With the recent retirement of Fire Chief Jeff Meston in March, the City is now seeking qualified applicants for the Fire Chief position. If you or someone you know has the right combination of qualifications, experience, and education, and is looking for a challenging and rewarding opportunity leading an excellent team of firefighters (in our beautiful natural environment!), please encourage them to click here and then click on Current Employment Opportunities. The deadline for applications is June 24.
Applications Now Being Accepted for 4th of July Parade
The annual 4th of July Parade in South Lake Tahoe is back this year and bigger than ever, and we want you to be a part of it! Applications are now being accepted to be a part of the parade. Individuals, businesses, sports groups, philanthropy groups, schools, etc. are all invited to participate, and FLOAT entries are highly encouraged. There is no entry fee. Applications are available online here, and parade applications are due by June 14, 2019.