Clock is ticking for Tahoe’s Boulder Bay project

A look at what the proposed redevelopment would resemble on the north side of the Highway 28 corridor in Crystal Bay.

A look at what the proposed redevelopment would resemble on the north side of the Highway 28 corridor in Crystal Bay.

CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. — Faced with an April 27 deadline to begin construction, the company planning redevelopment of the aging Tahoe Biltmore seeks permission to start work on facilities to protect water quality.

The request from attorneys for Boulder Bay LLC comes as the sound of ticking clocks grows louder for the company.

Most pressing is a deadline this month to begin construction — some construction, at least — on the project in Crystal Bay to meet the terms of a Tahoe Regional Planning Agency permit.

The plan approved by the TRPA board on April 27, 2011 — the date is important — calls for development of whole-ownership condominiums, a hotel and spa, a small casino, retail and restaurant space, affordable housing and a four-acre community park.

The TRPA established a three-year deadline for construction to begin, a deadline that will arrive at the end of this month.

Large-scale work isn’t required to meet that standard.

“It doesn’t have to be the whole process,” Jeff Cowen, public information officer for TRPA, said this week.

Instead he said the agency sets a standard of “diligent pursuit” to determine if the developer of a project is complying with deadline to begin construction.

The law firm that represents Boulder Bay LLC, Feldman McLaughlin Thiel LLP of Zephyr Cove, said in a letter to TRPA that the company plans removal of about 15,000 square feet of soil and the construction of facilities to contain and treat runoff.

The law firm said the work isn’t required to mitigate problems associated with the construction but instead is designed to provide runoff control from Highway 28 at a higher level than TRPA requires.

But the request to begin stormwater work carries its own problems with timing. TRPA ordinarily doesn’t allow grading work to begin before May 1. The lawyers for Boulder Bay LLC asked TRPA for an exemption.

The law firm said plans have been submitted to Placer County, which is completing an expedited review to allow the start of construction before April 27.

Among the headaches encountered by the developer in the past three years was the failure of the bank that was its primary lender for its acquisition of the property. The mortgage ultimately was acquired by JMA Ventures of San Francisco.

A spokesman for JMA Ventures — which owns Homewood Mountain Resort on the West Shore and the Hotel Avery project in Truckee — said last week that executives wouldn’t be available for an interview because of pending litigation.

“The team at JMA is supportive of restructuring the loan to the developer who wishes to renovate the Tahoe Biltmore,” the spokesman said in an e-mail.

The clock also is ticking on unpaid property taxes on the Tahoe Biltmore property, although Boulder Bay LLC still has a year to stave off a tax sale.

Washoe County records show that the company owes approximately $425,000 in unpaid property taxes, penalties and interest on its Crystal Bay properties.

County Treasurer Tammi Davis said the oldest of those unpaid taxes, the taxes that were billed in mid-2011, will be subject to issuance of a tax deed in June of this year.

If another year passes without payment, the parcels would be subject to sale in April 2015.


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