By Larissa Berry
Larissa Berry is President of the organization Defend Granite Bay. She has written the following letter to the Placer County Board of Supervisors commenting on the recently approved changes to the Tahoe Area Basin Plan. She addresses many problems in the plan, suggesting extensive re-evaluation.
Supervisors Gore, Landon, Holmes, Jones and Gustafson,
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed zoning text amendments to the Tahoe Area Basin Plan (TBAP).
At the urging of Supervisor Gustafson, I took the time to read the redlined version of the proposed changes. Contrary to suggestions that these changes will enhance the ability to increase local populations and address housing shortfalls identified by the state, the primary intent appears to be to placate state mandates with hollow promises that increased density, reduced lot sizes/setbacks and reduced or eliminated parking requirements will fill the needs of the community.
A significant number of elected representatives continually point fingers at the State as being responsible. Perhaps it is time to look closer to home and recognize that the State may be stepping in since local jurisdictions have failed to hold development accountable for housing needed by their residents; in this case more than 50% low, very low and extremely low-income households.
It is time for you to own the responsibility for decades of questionable planning decisions and approvals, illegitimate forgiveness of affordable housing ( Schaffers Mill, Riolo Vineyards, Timberline at Auburn, Martis Valley West, ) and the continued patterns of development where commercial, high/medium density units are eliminated (Regional University Specific Plan), zoning changes allowing greater coverage to build larger and more expensive homes (ZTA of 75% coverage for lots <13,000 sq ft) and homogenous developments which will only continue rob the residents of Placer of a needed diversity of housing types (CreekView Ranch 500 identical home sites).
Established communities are being overwhelmed by expectations to absorb previously forgiven units; further degrading quality of life. These rural communities have neither adequate roads nor schools to handle the increased density. Public safety and water will soon be issues.
The changes in the TBAP have no safeguards built in to ensure that reducing lots from 10,000 sq ft to 2,904 sq ft and front setbacks as low as 5sq ft will address workforce or achievable housing. These changes are letting the fox in the henhouse for more intense, dense and larger luxury rentals or homes; more coverage= bigger unit=higher price =defeating achievable housing.
There is no plan, no program or control being suggested to ensure that the residents of Tahoe will benefit.
Tahoe is bursting at the seams; residents are becoming enraged as their quality of life continues to degrade. The intensity and drive to further congest and overwhelmed rural areas is frankly disturbing. There is no long term thought, or in this case even evaluation, of cumulative traffic impacts, fire evacuation, first responder response times or regional air and water quality.
The Board should call for a moratorium on all new development unless it directly benefits those full-time residents who serve locals and local businesses. Additional tourists at this time should be discouraged and not encouraged until the infrastructure is in place to allow for maintained or increased quality of life and recreation.
These changes are not of benefit for local residents and stand to impact the region with increased traffic from the Bay to Tahoe, negatively impacting all communities along the travelled path.
The area west of Roseville is slated for 30% growth. It is a blank canvas on which you can create walkable, sustainable communities with mass transit that can off-load the impacts on your current constituents. We hope you take this opportunity to please pause and request a continuance until the full implications of the proposed changes are effectively evaluated and communicated.
President Defend Granite Bay and members