Friday, July 10, 2009

Lakeview Commons shovel ready

6/09 tahoe mt. news

By Kathryn Reed

When the dozen property owners deeded what is now known as Lakeview Commons to El Dorado County, three stipulations were made: no private commercial use, restrooms will always be free and no new buildings on the east side of the property within 750 feet of the centerline of Highway 50.
“I’m here because I made a promise to the group of people who bought the property in the 1920s. Those people put up the money because they wanted a place to get away from the heat in Placerville,” explained Bill Johnson.
Johnson, a member of one of the South Shore’s pioneer families, splits his time between South Lake Tahoe and the West Slope.
Those dozen people, with Johnson being one of them, bought much of what is the 56-acre project from the Bliss family for about $12,500 in the 1920s. Now the county owns it. South Lake Tahoe has a 55-year lease which expires in about 14 years.
“I think in the next 14 years the city will gain ownership. It should be city property,” Johnson told the council May 19. His parents once owned much of the South Shore, and he along with his brother and sister still are large land owners.
Johnson attended the City Council meeting because Lakeview Commons was on the agenda. Besides ensuring the original intent of the agreement is upheld, Johnson gave the council and audience a history lesson that captivated all who were listening.
Johnson touched on how this land was mired in controversy between the county and city when he was on the Board of Supervisors in 1968.
Even though food will be sold and non-motorized boat storage available for a fee, Johnson said because the city’s Parks and Recreation Department will run them it does not conflict with the no commercial use clause.

Moving forward

Lakeview Commons is expected to be on the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency agenda June 24.
The California Tahoe Conservancy may approve more money for Lakeview Commons at its July meeting. But with state bond money frozen, it’s not known when allocated dollars will begin flowing to their destinations.
Project manager Deb Vreeland hopes to have permits, including Caltrans and Lahontan, in hand later this summer. Permits are for the first phase that mostly encompasses lakeside improvements – a fraction of the entire 56-acre project.
Caltrans is in most discussions to coordinate its upcoming projects with ones that overlap with Lakeview Commons. Drainage from Highway 50 is a big issue.
“If we could make this year’s construction season, it would be glorious,” Vreeland said.
The beach will have access for people with disabilities, terraced landscaping, a cantilevered walkway and improved bike trail from Lakeview Avenue to Rufus Allen Boulevard.
A plethora of bathrooms near El Dorado beach may occur because Lakeview Commons’ is planning a two-story facility in the general area -- part toilets, part non-motorized boat storage. It may be a platinum-rated Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design latrine.
Vreeland told the City Council in March that those bathrooms are going forward no matter what the city does.
South Lake Tahoe has a $520,000 grant from the Department of Boating and Waterways to build a restroom facility in the area. This spring DBW agreed the city could move the restrooms to the city’s second choice which is to the other end of the triangular piece of property out of the view corridor.
The city is also going after a $200,000 DBW grant from non-motorized boating money. Lakeview Commons could benefit is if part of the DBW grant could fund the boat storage building.
To aid with the lack of parking dilemma, the city is in the preliminary stages of drawing plans for about 50 spaces on a parcel it owns adjacent to the boat trailer parking lot at El Dorado Beach. Coverage issues with TRPA need to be addressed.

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