1987 parking deal between South Lake Tahoe, Heavenly Mountain Resort surfaces


By Kathryn Reed

While the South Lake Tahoe City Council keeps making decisions about paid parking, the issue won’t go away. And it’s not going away because of a 1987 agreement with Heavenly Mountain Resort that has come to light.

The staff report dated Nov. 18, 1987, says, “Any costs related to the use of these streets for parking by Heavenly Valley will be reimbursed to the city by Heavenly Valley. This will result in no direct cost to the city’s general fund.”

The agreement approved by the City Council at the Dec. 1, 1987, meeting called for the ski resort to implement and enforce a parking permit system on some of the streets leading to the California Lodge, as well as provide snow removal in the permitted parking area.

While Mayor Tom Davis indicated a partial recollection of the agreement, the details of it have not been enforced in the last quarter century.

Paid parking on Ski Run Boulevard is in a state of flux. Photo/LTN file

Police Chief Brian Uhler, whose department is responsible for parking, has been talking to Heavenly officials about the 25-year-old deal.

“I’m optimistic we can reach an agreement,” Andrew Strain, head of government affairs for Heavenly, told the council last week.

He told the council the resort has plowed and sanded the streets when the city crews could not do so, that the resort has paid for one-third of the cost of the message board signs on Ski Run Boulevard, $240,000 was spent on a repaving project, and that overflow parking is needed no more than 20 days a season.

All four councilmembers agreed they want the 1987 agreement to be analyzed, revised and an update on what aspects of it will be enforced this winter.

When it came to voting on the parking meter-permit plan it was a 3-1 vote with Davis voting note. He didn’t give a reason for doing so.

Paradise Avenue from Ski Run Boulevard to Wildwood Avenue has been designated a parking meter zone. Free permits will be issued to residents impacted by paid parking areas.

Fees associated with paid parking will come back to the council. It’s possible Paradise Avenue will allow overnight parking – at a cost – because this is currently where some guests of Embassy Vacation Resort park instead of paying the hotel.

In other action:

• The council collectively voiced its frustration with the Tahoe Transportation District in light of a letter received by Executive Director Carl Hasty. The council expected the loop road discussion to be more in depth and for one meeting to be in council chambers for city residents, which in turn would be televised for more people to see. “I thought it was a dog and pony show,” Councilman Hal Cole said of the presentations he went to. “That is not how you select a $60 million project.” A stern letter will be sent to Hasty saying just how the council feels.

• The council agreed to use a recruiter to find a city attorney. Patrick Enright will be leaving when his contract expires at the end of May.

• A workshop will be scheduled to prioritize capital improvement projects.

• The city will be taking employee and community surveys in the coming weeks, with results available in March.

• A request for proposals to be the concessionaire at Bijou Park, Lakeview Commons and Regan Beach has been released. A business or person may apply for one or all three. The City Council is expected to make a decision in late February or early March.



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Comments (24)
  1. Biggerpicture says - Posted: January 14, 2013

    ‘”I thought it was a dog and pony show,” Councilman Hal Cole said of the presentations he went to. “That is not how you select a $60 million project.”’

    And if anyone should know that by first hand experience it would be the King of The Hole Mr. Hal Cole!

  2. lou pierini says - Posted: January 14, 2013

    Heavenly has it all, free water, free parking and and no 8% sales tax or city tax on lift tickets, free heated sidewalks, and many more freebies, NICE.

  3. Concerned citizen says - Posted: January 14, 2013

    And Heavenly doesn’t bring tourists to town. Think about last year when we did not have snow and Heavenly made winter.

  4. Old Long Skiis says - Posted: January 14, 2013

    In the mid 70’s there was talk about The City Of SLT expanding its city limit boundries to include Heavenly Valley.
    I asked Hugh Killebrew about this as we went up the tram. He looked at me and said “It’s never going to happen”.
    Well Mr Killebrew was right, and I won’t be surprized if this deal with Heavenly from 87′ gets swept under the rug.
    Some things never change. Old Long Skiis

  5. john says - Posted: January 14, 2013

    They should pay up. As per the agreement. A normal person would have been sent to collections or revenue recovery for eldorado county. Why have they gotten a free pass for 25 YRS!!!???

  6. fromform says - Posted: January 14, 2013

    operation by ‘partial recollection’ and selective enforcement points to the tip of an iceburg, south lake tahoe city government style…

  7. Steve says - Posted: January 14, 2013

    Enactment of a lift ticket tax on skiers, as is done in Colorado, Utah, and other states would ensure tourists and skiers, and not city or local residents, paid a fairer share of their burden on the city’s infrastructure.

    Other ski resort towns generally use lift ticket tax revenues for specific purposes. Crested Butte has a 4 percent local tax with the revenue dedicated to transportation. Snowmass has a 1 percent local tax, also earmarked for transportation, while in Utah, there is a statewide 7.4 percent tax, with specific percentages earmarked for municipalities like Park City. Killington, VT has a 7 percent lift ticket tax. Eagle Crest, Alaska collects a 5 percent tax subject to voter approval every five years, and Whistler, B.C. collects 12 percent on lift tickets.

    The never-ending argument over where city and ski boundaries lie, and the colossal blunder of an illogical agreement years ago exempting Heavenly gondola ticket sales from a city tax, would be eliminated with a county-wide lift ticket tax that applied uniformly to all ski resorts in El Dorado County.

  8. Dogula says - Posted: January 14, 2013

    So Steve, where does our TOT tax go? Locals aren’t paying that one, our visitors are. Does it benefit them in any way, or does it all go toward city percs?

  9. Concerned citizen says - Posted: January 14, 2013

    Why would Heavenly want to be part of City? Inferior public safety, higher taxes, more bureaucratic BS, corrupt and self serving City council, etc, etc.

  10. Old Long Skiis says - Posted: January 14, 2013

    Selective enforcement is widely spread throughout this community as well as this entire country.
    If you or I don’t pay our income or property taxes the government will kick you out of your house and we are living in the street. When big corporations don’t pay taxes on income thru loopholes and offshore accounts or provide a living wage for their employees they are rewarded with govt. loans and rebates paid for with middle income taxpayer dollars.G.E,Boeing,Catterpilar,Bank of America, CGI to name a few.

    Whats going to happen with the money that’s owed to the city or to Heavenly? I would guess a backroom deal will be made and it will all be hushed up.
    Same old same old. OLS

  11. dumbfounded says - Posted: January 14, 2013

    If the City was to be decommissioned, these would all be moot points and we would save money. If the City doesn’t want the revenue due to it from business that benefits from the City’s expenditure (like vacation rentals, city streets, police, fire and parking for Heavenly which IS in the city limits), why should we taxpayers continue to pay for the City’s expenses? They obviously don’t need money if they leave it laying around…

  12. 4-mer-usmc says - Posted: January 14, 2013


    The way that visitors to our community benefit from TOT taxes that are collected by the hotels/motels and is then submitted to the City is for the Fire and Police services they need when those countless visitors to our community swell the local population 5-fold or more, it pays for infrastructure improvements to our roads that those countless visitors drive on, and it pays for the Fleet capital such as Fire trucks & equipment and police vehicles & equipment. TOT taxes don’t only pay for management and administrative staffs “percs” but also for Police, Fire and EMT personnel’s salaries and benefits.

  13. Dogula says - Posted: January 14, 2013

    Hmmm. I always thought gas taxes went to roads.
    Learn something new every day.
    But, an earlier post made it sound as if our visitors don’t pay enough of our taxes because there’s no tax on lift tickets, and really, there are so many ways that they DO pay. TOT, car rental taxes, then there’s sales tax on their meals and supplies purchased. Lift pass tax or not, our visitors are not getting a free ride.

  14. reza says - Posted: January 14, 2013

    And people wonder how the same individuals get elected to city council even though they continue to make the same mistakes or continue to look aside at matters like this. No one to blame but the voters who allow this to go on.

  15. 4-mer-usmc says - Posted: January 14, 2013


    I agree that visitors to our community are not getting a free ride, and I don’t think they should. I also don’t think that you, I, and other taxpaying residents of SLT should have to pick up the lions-share of the tab for Fire, Police, and repairs to our infrastructure when these multitudes of people come to our town creating a much greater need for services and causing wear and tear on infrastructure that a static population of 19,000 would never cause. Also, not enough tax money could be collected from a small 19,000 population to cover the associated costs that are created from all the visitors to our community.

    With regard to gas taxes going to roads, I think the majority of that tax money goes to federal and state highways with a very small amount provided to local municipalities in the form of grants. And the sad truth is grant funds have pretty much dried up so I don’t think they will be much more of that coming our way anytime soon.

  16. Dogula says - Posted: January 14, 2013

    Just a reminder, 4-mer, our “Main Street” is an interstate highway. I’m pretty sure it’s mainly federal dollars that provide for its maintenance.

  17. 4-mer-usmc says - Posted: January 14, 2013


    Highway 50 is a Federal interstate highway for which Caltrans has the responsibility of maintenance and repair. It’s not much of a “main street” though–it’s now appearing more like a main speedway!

  18. thing fish says - Posted: January 14, 2013

    Dogula, wrong again. Next time before you click ‘submit’ jump on wikipedia for one minute.

  19. Joe Doaks says - Posted: January 14, 2013


    The city goes out of its way not to collect TOT, especially private rentals.
    They have no system to monitor use or rental income collected. It is probably malfeasance to the max. Makes you wonder who benefits from this complete fiduciary irresponsebility. We know who loses, you and me.

  20. Dogula says - Posted: January 14, 2013

    Fish, if you’re going to ATTACK me personally, AGAIN, at least be specific about WHAT you are attacking.
    Just saying I’m wrong, and not what I’m wrong about, is a rookie mistake.
    I’m ashamed of you.

  21. Snow says - Posted: January 14, 2013

    Fish, and Dogula, LTN just addressed this issue. Stand down Fish, or be specific. Otherwise, no one benefits from the discussion, as the discussion is hidden, and meant to be an attack. I, personally, would love the “page 2” , the “enlightenment” so to speak. Do tell, if there is something to tell.

  22. Biggerpicture says - Posted: January 14, 2013

    Dog, Hwy 50: Not an interstate, a US Highway.

  23. 4-mer-usmc says - Posted: January 14, 2013

    Joe Doaks:

    Would you please share your concrete evidence that supports your comments that the City goes out of its way not to collect TOT, especially on private rentals, and that they have no system of monitoring the use or rental income collected.

    Thank you.