Placer advances achievable housing in North Lake Tahoe

Published on January 31, 2019

The Placer County Board of Supervisors this week moved forward two items focused on achievable housing in North Lake Tahoe.

In the first of two housing-related items, the board on Tuesday approved an exclusive right to negotiate agreement with Related California LLC to develop a proposed achievable housing and mixed-use commercial project on an 11-acre property at 3205 North Lake Blvd., in Tahoe City’s Dollar Hill area.

The board in July 2018 approved the terms for negotiation of a $3.6 million purchase and sale agreement for the site. This week’s approval affirms that Placer will negotiate exclusively with Related California on a developer agreement and allows Related California access to the site to fine tune a proposed project.

After soliciting proposals to develop the proposed project and an extensive community review process of those proposals, Related California and its proposed team members, Pacific Companies and Dinsmore Sierra LLC, were identified as the leading candidate team. In December the board voted to allow county staff to begin negotiations with them for a formal developer agreement.

Related, Pacific and Dinsmore each have development experience in the Lake Tahoe Basin, including building the 77-unit Domus affordable housing development in Kings Beach, as well as other housing projects in Truckee and South Lake Tahoe.

The initial concept for the project proposes 206 affordable, achievable and market-rate units - 192 apartments of various sizes and 14 single-family homes. The homes could offer the opportunity for purchasers to eventually add secondary dwelling units on their parcels, providing rental income potential that could help offset the cost of the purchase.

Related California and its team will refine the project concept through community outreach, with at least three community meetings planned between March and July. A final developer agreement is expected to be ready for the board’s consideration in July.

In a related housing item, the board unanimously approved the Mountain Housing Council's annual legislative advocacy platform, helping coordinate regional efforts to secure more state and federal support for the area’s housing challenges. Placer County is a funding member of the council, and one of 28 member partners.

On the Tuesday agenda, the Placer County Successor Agency Board also approved the terms of a purchase and sale agreement with Kings Beach Center LLC for the Successor Agency’s Eastern Gateway Property. The purchase price is $1.1 million. Kings Beach Center LLC proposes achievable workforce housing for the site.

As part of Placer’s achievable housing workshop in Kings Beach on Monday, the board directed county staff to analyze options for internal and external organizational structures to implement housing projects and programs, and also to develop options for a potential pilot program of purchasing deed restrictions on area homes from willing sellers that would ensure they remain as permanent housing inventory instead of vacation rentals. The model comes from the town of Vail, Colorado, whose housing director, George Ruther, participated in the workshop and outlined the program's success.

Historically, housing policies and discussion in eastern Placer County have focused on the need to provide workforce housing to accommodate the many service workers supporting its tourism-driven economy. Regional housing experts have shifted to discussing the housing crisis in terms of local, achievable housing to better reflect the current community needs not just for income-restricted affordable housing, but for a housing stock that accommodates the budgets of people at all income levels. That includes those who were once considered middle class, but are currently unable to afford to rent or purchase in the communities they work, like teachers, firefighters, professionals and tourism industry managers.