Dana Gentry

(Nevada Current) A committee of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is recommending approval of a luxury condo development championed by Washoe County for downtown Incline Village, where the county recently prohibited single family dwellings except “when they are part of a mixed-used development or when they are affordable housing units.”

Residents who oppose the project, which advertises $2.5 million units, say it is not affordable, and they contend an ancillary 1,000 square foot office does not qualify it as a mixed-use development.

The units “are not affordable to a first responder, schoolteacher, health care or service worker,” Incline resident Pamela Tsigdinos told the TRPA’s committee Wednesday, noting the amendment before them encompassed an entire area designated for affordable housing and mixed-use development. “May I remind you TRPA was created to protect Lake Tahoe and the basin and its communities, not to be the economic arm of the Chamber of Commerce and a partner to the development and real estate industry.”

The Tahoe Prosperity Report, prepared by a non-profit group, suggests residents of Incline Village and Crystal Bay are engaged in a form of urban isolationism.

“Little to no growth in population, housing units, or jobs has occurred over the past decade, but shifts in resident characteristics show that the community is pushing out young local families and core employees in exchange for older, more affluent families and seniors,” says the report.

The Tahoe Prosperity Center is funded by Washoe County, the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation, and the Offerdahl Foundation, according to the Tahoe Daily Tribune.

About two dozen residents spoke in opposition to the condos, while only a few spoke in support..

“What little workforce housing we have in Incline Village is largely located in this area,” resident Roxanna Dunn told the committee. “And it will be displaced, we believe, along with a number of businesses that serve local needs, by what many of us see as the inevitable influx of luxury condos likely to be used as second homes, and despite promises to the contrary, also likely to be used as STRS (short-term rentals).”

Washoe County Commissioner Alexis Hill opposed a compromise amendment to carve the luxury condo development out for approval, while leaving special commercial district zoning intact in the surrounding area.

“I don’t necessarily think it’s the right thing to be looking at one development in particular,” she said.

Three of five members in attendance, Cindy Gustafson of California, Vince Hoenigman of California, and James Settlemeyer, representing the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, disagreed with Hill, and voted in favor of the revised amendment to spot zone the project, which will now be considered by the TRPA’s governing board.

“If TRPA isn’t going to be the protector of Tahoe’s environment, then this agency should be dissolved so that a new agency can pick up the mantle,” Tsigdinos said.