Harveys versus Marriott, hotel rooms versus condos, tunnel versus overpass - change and rewrites have been constant with South Lake Tahoe's $410 million convention center project due to start work next month.
The city redevelopment plan now involves an overpass covering Highway 50 instead of the originally-designed tunnel, a possible deed restriction on the proposed convention center and a fluctuating number of hotel units. The 386 units on the table when the project was approved in February 2006 have now evolved to 488 - still down from the 709 originally considered in 1998.
"We had units too big. Hotel occupancy needs to be responsive to the market. And that's the Genesis to why we're here," South Shore attorney Lew Feldman told the city's Planning Commission on Tuesday before it approved the revised design, environmental impact report and Highway 50 landscaping.
But now, the city and developers will have to contend with a code relative to mixed use development that would reduce the 488 units by 11 to 477. And it's unclear to what extent the convention center - which will be city owned but privately leased from the developer to an undisclosed management firm - will need to be tied to the hotel condominium units. Agreements and permits remain pending, but the construction work is geared to start with a massive utility job staged in the area in May.
And that work may hinge on whether the Redevelopment Agency deems it necessary to force the developer to make improvements on Cedar Avenue outside the project area where the utility job will tear up the street. Jim Marino of the city's engineering staff told the commission he's adamant about requiring the sidewalk on Cedar be repaired by the developer. The city's street repair budget remains in a shortfall, and the thought is pedestrian traffic will be increased in the area.
But Feldman stood his ground in his objections to the condition.
"I don't want to stand here and say we don't want to build. But a threshold of pain has been reached. This developer is delivering more public benefit than any other developer in the history of this city," he said.
When it appeared the parties had reached an impasse, the commission voted 3 to 1 in favor of the conditions on the revised design - but removed the controversial item.