Concerns with Placer County Tahoe Basin Area Plan


FOWS is very concerned with several of the changes contemplated for Placer County’s Tahoe Basin Area Plan:

1. More people, more buildings, and more cars:

TRPA’s 2012 Regional Plan Update (RPU) creates a “Town Center” zoning district for Tahoe City, which allows for major increases in height (up to four stories or 56’), density (up to 400% more people per acre in some areas), pavement (allowing twice as much pavement and buildings covering the land in some areas), traffic, and other impacts. We don’t want to see Tahoe City transformed into an overly dense, urbanized replica of metropolitan resorts, like the one portrayed in the “Vision” developed by the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association (NLTRA) and Tahoe City Public Utility District (TCPUD) in 2012. Further, increases in residents and visitors in Tahoe City will mean more traffic and pollution along the West Shore’s roadways.

2. More “Mixed-Use” Zoning:

TRPA’s imposition of a new, more dramatic “mixed-use” land use within Tahoe Basin communities has the potential to completely change small, rural communities around the Basin. TRPA’s mixed-use zoning directs commercial uses, retail uses, tourist uses (e.g. hotels), and other uses into areas that may now be primarily residential neighborhoods.

On a positive note, the recently released revised NOP has reduced the original areas in Homewood and Sunnyside that would have been subject to the new mixed-use zoning. Instead, the mixed-use areas would be confined to the commercial areas of Sunnyside and Homewood, where many such uses are already allowed. The Area Plan’s changes would allow single-family and multi-family residential uses in these areas.

3. Height:

TRPA’s RPU maintained the maximum height of buildings in West Shore communities (which lie outside of the Tahoe City Town Center) at two stories tall, yet boosted the allowable building height in Tahoe City and Kings Beach “Town Centers” to 56-feet tall (approx. four stories). TRPA’s RPU also includes numerous exceptions that would allow taller buildings, even in areas zoned for two stories. TRPA has approved such exceptions in the past, with the Homewood Mountain Resort being a key example. FOWS remains concerned with the height and densities that could result from the Tahoe Basin Area Plan, and will continue to participate in the Area Plan process.