Tahoe Conservancy Pursues Partnership on “Affordable by Design” Housing at Lake Tahoe

Published: Mar 15, 2019
South Lake Tahoe, Calif

Lake Tahoe

The California Tahoe Conservancy has announced its intent to help address the Lake Tahoe Basin’s housing crisis by pursuing a partnership to develop “affordable by design” housing on one of its developable properties in South Lake Tahoe.

Following a competitive request for proposals, the Conservancy announced at its Board meeting yesterday that it intends to enter into exclusive negotiations with Dinsmore Sierra. Under terms still to be negotiated, Dinsmore Sierra would purchase the Conservancy’s half-acre lot at 833 Emerald Bay Road in South Lake Tahoe and finance and build housing on this parcel.

“Housing is one of the most urgent issues facing Tahoe communities,” said Conservancy Chair and City of South Lake Tahoe representative Brooke Laine. “The prospect of adding affordable homes to this walkable, bikeable neighborhood supports the Lake Tahoe Basin’s sustainable development goals.”

Dinsmore Sierra has proposed developing a project that makes efficient use of land while minimizing impact on the natural landscape. The company intends to save costs by using small, simple and repeatable building types. The developer and Conservancy will also collaborate with partner agencies on strategies to keep the units affordable, while also considering the housing policy and fee recommendations from the Tahoe Prosperity Center and the Mountain Housing Council. By exploring all such options to reduce overhead costs compared to typical residential developments, Dinsmore Sierra aims for housing that is more affordable by design, while improving housing choices for South Lake Tahoe.

In addition to the new homes, the potential 833 Emerald Bay Road project must meet the Conservancy’s requirements to include a permanent easement for public access and open space. Dinsmore Sierra will explore meeting those requirements by including such possible amenities as a bicycle path and a public bike repair station.

As part of its Tahoe Livable Communities program, the Conservancy has committed to use of its “asset lands” to help foster sustainable redevelopment in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Asset lands include developable lands in urbanized areas of the Lake Tahoe Basin that could support sustainable, compact development, consistent with Tahoe’s regional and local community planning. The 833 Emerald Bay Road property is located within the South Lake Tahoe “Y” area town center and close to bicycle routes and transit.

At the same meeting, the Conservancy Board approved a plan to improve access for people with disabilities at its five most-developed recreation sites around Lake Tahoe: Carnelian West / Gar Woods, Carnelian East / Patton Landing, Kings Beach Plaza, North Tahoe Beach, and the California side of Van Sickle Bi-State Park.

The Conservancy Board also approved the City of South Lake Tahoe’s proposal to purchase an ecologically important parcel on Rockwood Drive as part of its broader plans to restore the Bijou Park Creek watershed. The City will use a portion of previously awarded Conservancy funds to restore valuable meadow and streamside habitat along the historical alignment of Bijou Park Creek.


Established in 1984, the mission of the Tahoe Conservancy is to lead California’s efforts to restore and enhance the extraordinary natural and recreational resources of the Lake Tahoe Basin. For more information, visit tahoe.ca.gov.

Contact: Chris Carney, Communications Director, 530-543-6057
California Tahoe Conservancy