County to begin studying replacement project for Tahoe Justice Center

Published Sept. 26, 2023

Tahoe Justice CenterToday, the Placer County Board of Supervisors took another step toward modernizing the Tahoe Justice Center and Placer County Sheriff’s Office North Lake Tahoe Station, authorizing staff to begin land use consulting and project planning and entitlements to facilitate the design of the project to replace the facilities. The approved contract for the consultant work is to not exceed $500,000.

“The current Tahoe Justice Center has been the subject of Placer County’s Grand Jury reports for many years because it’s inadequate and dilapidated,” said Placer’s Facilities Director Steve Newsom. “Today’s action by the board signals to the state and the Grand Jury that the county is serious about modernizing that facility and we’re moving forward with our environmental review process for that project.”

The current Tahoe Justice Center is located on approximately 10 acres off North Lake Boulevard on a property known as Burton Creek. The facility was constructed in 1959 to serve as a sheriff’s substation during the 1960 Winter Olympics. Although intended to be temporary at the time, the facility continues to be used to house sheriff’s office operations, staff and equipment, as well as trial court functions of the Placer Superior Court.

In 2019, the county began a review of the Tahoe Justice Center for future operational needs and staffing requirements. Following discussions with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, Probation Department, Public Defender, County Executive Office, District Attorney’s Office, and Placer Superior Court staff, county staff recommended the construction of a new, modern justice facility on the Burton Creek property. 

“We have watched North Lake Tahoe evolve over the years, from the days of the 1960 Olympics to the vibrant community it is today,” said Placer County Sheriff Wayne Woo. “Our current North Lake Tahoe Station no longer meets the demands of our modern times. I thank the Placer County Board of Supervisors for their approval of this new station. We are not just upgrading the facility, we are investing in the safety and future of our community.”

The new PCSO station will replace the county’s current Department of Public Works facility on the northwest side of the Burton Creek property, adjacent to the current justice center. The county is reviewing locations throughout Tahoe City and the Lake Tahoe Basin to relocate the Department of Public Works facility and any associated snowplows or maintenance machinery. 

The Burton Creek site is the ideal location to co-house the sheriff’s office substation and Placer Superior Court because of the location within the Tahoe Basin, and the synergy between the Placer Superior Court and county law enforcement agencies. 

In May, the board signed a letter of support to the California Judicial Council’s Facilities Advisory Committee noting the intent of a North Tahoe courthouse replacement project and advocating for continued co-location. The state has expressed intent to purchase the existing justice center buildings and proceed with renovations independently of the county.   

Learn more about the Burton Creek Justice Center and replacement project here.