South Lake Tahoe City Council Approves Cannabis Tax Ballot Measure and Recreation Center Plans


SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Residents of South Lake Tahoe will be asked to approve a new cannabis tax in the November election after City Council voted to put the issue on the ballot at its Tuesday, 21 meeting. June.

If passed by a majority of voters, the tax will replace the community benefits fee that was part of the original ordinance authorizing the dispensaries.

The community delivery fee was 6% of gross revenue from retail, distribution and manufacturing, and $20 per square foot of canopy for cultivation and was paid into a grant fund. In 2022, nearly $400,000 in grants were awarded to 14 local nonprofits.

Although the fees worked as intended, the city realized that they placed a significant burden on administrative staff. The tax would be a way for cannabis companies to contribute to the city without the annual administrative need. The tax would be placed in the general fund to be used to maintain fire protection and rapid emergency response, reduce the threat of wildfires, repair streets and potholes, and maintain snow removal, as well as non-profit community benefit grants.

Staff recommends that the tax be set at 6%, so that it matches what is currently increased by fees. This is the highest amount allowed, but the council could decide to lower the tax after it is approved by voters. The ballot measure was approved 4-0, with council member Cody Bass recusing himself.

The council also approved the final plans for the new recreation centre.

Jim Marino, Director of Capital Improvement Projects, and Joe Irvin, City Manager, both expressed their delight at being able to present the final plans after so many years of work.

“It took a long time to come,” Marino said.

A representative from Jordan Knighton Architects presented the plans, saying they were inspired by the culture of the community, the integration of art, the celebration of place and human enjoyment.

The first floor of the building will house the lobby, kitchen, administrative offices, a gym, a dance/arts and crafts/party room, locker rooms and two swimming pools (a six-lane pool and a activity pool).

The second floor will host an indoor track that overlooks basketball courts and a fitness center, as well as an event terrace.

A rendering of the indoor track overlooking the basketball courts.
Recreation Center Renderings

The building uses a variety of materials, all of which are fire resistant. The majority of the building will run on electricity, with the exception of the pools which will be heated using traditional heating methods. Marino said they may upgrade the pool heaters as better technologies come out, but for now they are happy with the fact that 95% of the building uses electricity.

Marino warned that a large number of trees would be felled for the project and a member of the public said it was counter-intuitive to talk about energy use and greenhouse gas emissions while reducing a carbon-sequestering resource.

The designs were approved 3-0 with Pro Tem Mayor Cristi Creegan and council member John Friedrick recused himself.

The Board also approved the allocation of nearly $3.8 million in Measure P funds for the construction contract. Phase 1 of the project will begin this summer and be completed by November.

During the meeting, the council approved new targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to align with targets set by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. By aligning goals, the Sierra Business Council can apply for grants from ICLEI.

The goals for the city are a 63.3% reduction in per capita greenhouse gas emissions and a 59.2% absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

GHG emissions data is taken every three years and the city emitted more GHGs in 2018 than in 2015 (2021 data is still being collected). Council member Tamara Wallace expressed concern about setting a higher target when she was unable to meet the original target.

Irvin admitted the city still had a long way to go, but when the goals were first set, the city didn’t have the staff or programs in place that it has now.

Still, the board unanimously approved the change.

Following the regular meeting, the council held a transit workshop, where they met with consultants to discuss the direction in which the city should move. Via Mobility, the project team, launched a citywide survey last week and received 750 responses.

Only 5% of respondents said they used Tahoe Transit District buses, and nearly half of respondents said they were unaware of TTD services.

When asked what improvements would encourage them to use public transport, 50% said there were more places served, 40% said more frequent service.

Respondents, as well as stakeholders interviewed by the project team, also said they wanted longer opening hours, more direct routes and better infrastructure such as dedicated bus lanes.

As the city embraces microtransit this summer, the council, along with stakeholders, said there needed to be more service in the US Highway 50-California State Route 89 corridor that would serve the “Y” and Emerald Bay. .

The council discussed whether public transit should be more tourist- or resident-oriented and Wallace stressed that no matter who he is talking to, more and better public transit options would benefit everyone. everybody.

“It’s interesting that we’re having this conversation in a city hall that doesn’t have public transit options,” Friedrick said.

Via will now use the information gathered from council, survey respondents and stakeholders to develop recommendations to improve transit.

There will be no city council in July. The next meeting is scheduled for 9 am on August 9.

City Clerk Sue Blankenship noted that the nomination period for City Council elections opens July 18 and closes August 12. She said it’s not too early for potential candidates to book an appointment with her.


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