Bijou Park Creek
Bijou Park Creek Watershed Restoration Project
The 850-acre Bijou Park Creek Watershed is an important watershed extending from Heavenly Mountain Resort in the upper watershed and encompassing upper Ski Run Boulevard, neighborhoods off Glenwood and Blackwood Avenues and the Knights Inn Hotel area before connecting with Lake Tahoe at Ski Run Marina. The area around the Knights Inn Hotel including Lloyd, Bill, Herbert and Shirley Avenues, historically experiences significant amounts of flooding, which contains nutrients and sediment from the upper watershed, residential and commercial properties and runoff from roadways, before discharging into the Ski Run Marina. Restoration and enhancement of the Bijou Park Creek Watershed has long been considered an important aspect of the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program (Project #01-01-01-0086). Although the watershed was long-ago developed and includes a high concentration of residential and commercial properties, the City, the California Tahoe Conservancy, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) and other local agencies and environmental groups have identified improvements to the watershed as a high priority.
At a March 14, 2017 meeting, the City Council adopted Resolution 2017-16 establishing the three phases of the Bijou Park Creek Watershed Restoration Project.
Phase 1 includes acquisition of the various parcels in and around the Knights Inn owned by TMPM, LLC and closing escrow on Southwest Corner parcels; demolition of all development on the Knights Inn properties including the 110 room hotel, the restaurant, conference center and single family residence; restoration of parcels verified as 1 b (Stream Environment Zone (SEZ)); flood mitigation; implementation of additional SEZ restoration, water quality and lake clarity improvements including daylighting of the lost Bijou Park Creek (currently in drainage pipe under the hotel) and a host of ecosystem and Watershed benefits; and pending City Council approval, Phase 1 is proposed to also include redevelopment of the developable portions of the Knights Inn site.
Phase 2 is the study of the Upper Watershed to develop meaningful recommendations for watershed restoration. The City has been awarded just under $500,000 of Prop 1 funds from the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRQB) to study the Bijou Creek Park Watershed for projects that will lead to implementation of improvements.
Phase 3 would be the implementation of those recommendations.
Bijou Park Creek Watershed Restoration Phase 1/Southwest Corner Project
The proposed Bijou Park Creek Project is a multi-benefit project facilitated by a public agency and private investment partnership. The project area consists of two sites that are privately and publicly owned totaling 7.6 acres and currently developed with a tourist accommodation use (Knights Inn) and associated restaurant, pool and parking lot, conference center, a single-family dwelling unit, and parcels owned by the California Tahoe Conservancy. The City is proposing to partner with a developer to remove all existing development located within the project area, restore a portion of the Bijou Park Creek, establish a water quality treatment system and redevelop commercial uses on the site.
The stormwater and stream restoration project includes removing an undersized and failing storm drain pipe beneath the Knights Inn building, creating a new stormwater treatment system, daylighting a segment of Bijou Park Creek, and increasing the capacity of the downstream overflow conveyance system to reduce localized flooding from the undersized infrastructure. The stormwater treatment system which includes the daylighted Bijou Park Creek could result in the removal of 8,200 pounds of fine sediment particles, 77 pounds of total nitrogen, and 25 pounds of total phosphorus annually from a watershed directly connected to Lake Tahoe. In addition, approximately 0.7 acre-feet of infiltrated water per year would recharge the groundwater.
The commercial portions of the project will include 43,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, parking, pedestrian pathways, and design features that encourage walking, biking, and alternative modes of transportation. The proposed project includes five separate buildings throughout the site with the restored Bijou Park Creek integrated with outdoor seating and gathering areas in the middle of the site.
CEQA and TRPA Environmental Impact Analysis
The City has reviewed and considered the proposed project and has determined that the project will not have a significant effect on the environment, with substantial supporting evidence provided in the Initial Study. The Initial Study is tiered from the City of South Lake Tahoe General Plan Update EIR in accordance with California Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines Sections 15152 and 15168 and Public Resources Code Section 21094. In addition, this Initial Study utilizes the information and analyses from the Tourist Core Area Plan CEQA Initial Study/Negative Declaration and TRPA Environmental Checklist/Finding of No Significant Effect (adopted by the City of South Lake Tahoe and TRPA in 2013) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15150. The City hereby prepares and proposes to adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration for this project under CEQA. Hazardous waste issues are addressed in Section 6.0 of the document.
A Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) Initial Environmental Checklist (IEC) has also been prepared for the project that is tiered from the TRPA 2012 Regional Plan Update (RPU) EIS in accordance with Section 6.12j of the TRPA Rules of Procedure. The IEC supports the determination of a Mitigated Finding of No Significant Effect pursuant to Section 6.7 of the TRPA Rules of Procedure.
The City Planning Commission will be considering adoption of the CEQA and TRPA environmental document and approval of the project at their May 11, 2017 meeting. The meeting will be held at 3:00 in the City Council Chambers at the Lake Tahoe Airport (1901 Airport Road). The Planning Commission agenda, staff reports, and associated materials are available at the following link:
Planning Commission May 11, 2017 agenda
The Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (CEQA) and Initial Environmental Checklist/Mitigated Finding of No Significant Effect (TRPA) is available at the following link:
Bijou Park Creek/SW Corner IS/MND/IEC/MFONSE