Apartments for disabled seek approval |

Apartments for disabled seek approval

Gregory Crofton, Appeal News Service

A building permit for 18 apartments designed for people with brain injuries or physical disabilities is expected to be approved by Lake Tahoe Basin planners Wednesday.

In the works for about two years, construction is scheduled to start this spring on Emerald Bay Estates on three acres between Roger Avenue and Emerald Bay Road.

The $2.5 million project is funded by federal grants obtained by South Lake Tahoe. The 14 one-bedroom and four two-bedroom apartments will be wheelchair accessible. They will be split into two, two-story buildings made of cedar siding and rock using an alpine design.

The complex will have 18 parking spaces, instead of 34, because most of its tenants are expected to use Bus Plus or other forms of public transit.

Earlier public comment about the project caused the developer, Accessible Space, to position its entrance off Emerald Bay Road, instead of Roger Avenue. Residents expressed concern about increased traffic in their neighborhood.

“We have a need for this type of housing,” said Patrick Conway, housing and economic development coordinator for South Lake Tahoe, who began planning for the project in 2000. “Not only is it accessible, but it’s affordable.”

Conway said he expects the units to be rented for about $300.

Dave Rice, who has lived on Glorene Avenue for five years, said he objects to the project but not because it will be occupied by low-income renters.

“My objection is that it’s just going to be ugly,” said Rice.

“I don’t think we can stop it. They’ve already made up their mind to put in low-income housing,” he said. “I have no objection to low-income housing, but why on Emerald Bay Road? There are so many other places they could build the units.”

Also on Wednesday at the TRPA meeting, the Governing Board is expected to:

n Create an Executive Director Selection Committee. Executive Director Juan Palma’s last day is April 30.

n Appoint an interim executive director and determine how much he or she will be paid.

n Approve the release of $53,000 to improve air quality in the basin. The money will be matched by nearly $500,000 in state grants for the purchase of two Nifty “50” trolleys that run on compressed natural gas; the purchase of cars from the 1920s to be used as shuttles in the area of Camp Richardson Resort; and to pay for the constructing of bus shelters.

n Approve the release of $678,000 from the California gas and sales taxes to fund Placer County’s transit system at the basin.

n Approve a request by the El Dorado County Department of Transportation to apply for a federal grant to buy a $66,000 van that runs on compressed natural gas. The van would become part of the Bus Plus system.

If you go

What: Meeting of the Governing Board of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

Where: 128 Market St., Kingsbury Grade

When: 9:30 a.m.