The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) Governing Board on Wednesday unanimously approved Placer County’s Tahoe Basin Area Plan and the Tahoe City Lodge Project.

The City Lodge Project is a hotel that will replace blighted buildings near the Tahoe City Golf Course. The original development was built for the 1960's Olympic Games in Squaw Valley. "The project was never finished and consequently it was never brought up to code and has been like this for about 55-56 years," says Ron Treabes with the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. 

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency says the project is an example of how the Tahoe Basin Area Plan can be used to revitalize communities and restore the environmen. The 118-unit Tahoe City Lodge Project will redevelop a blighted building at the Tahoe City Golf Course into a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) level hotel with a mix of hotel rooms and one- and two-bedroom suites, a ground floor restaurant, a rooftop pool and bar, conference facilities, a new clubhouse for the golf course, and parking lot charging stations for zero-emission electric vehicles. The project will reduce coverage at the site by 10,080 square feet and restore 1.7 acres of stream environment zone.

“[Wednesday's] approval reflects the hard work and support of many stakeholders in the Tahoe City community, all of whom helped shape this project to be a win for the local economy, a win for the environment, and a win for the future of Tahoe City,” said Samir Tuma, the Tahoe City Lodge project applicant. “As the first new North Shore lodging project in decades, we’re excited to bring visitors to local businesses, employ local residents, and help catalyze the revitalization of the community.”

With the City Lodge Project moving forward, nearby businesses are expected to benefit as well. With added value to the area, comes higher prices, which makes it difficult to find affordable housing for the workforce.

The TRPA says to help address Lake Tahoe’s affordable housing crisis, the area plan allows property owners to build secondary dwelling units, or “mother-in-law units,” regardless of their lot’s size, providing greater housing options. The new units must be deed restricted affordable housing and cannot be used as vacation rentals.

"We are desperate. If I have a vacancy which doesn't happen often on one of my units, I will get 75 calls with one Craigslist entry," says north Tahoe resident Teresa May. She says there is still work to be done but Placer County is moving in the right direction. She says allowing additional units, with restrictions, make it more affordable for owners and renters. 

"[My tenant's] utilities are included, he has a good deal. It is subsidized by me, sort of, but he's helping me too, it is a true partnership that we have," says May.

The Tahoe Basin Area Plan also includes measures to address traffic and congestion in North Shore communities, including parking management strategies, wayfinding signage, trip reduction and transportation demand management plans, and adaptive traffic management plans for state Route 267 and state Route 89. More specific plans for solutions are expected to come sometime in February.