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October 25, 2011
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Lake Tahoe property owner Tamara Fritz challenges proposed $35K fine

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — The owner of a lakefront property that has attracted Tahoe Regional Planning Agency attention for allegedly violating Lake Tahoe's strict environmental rules is challenging the planning agency's findings.Tamara Fritz is contesting a TRPA determination that she is responsible for environmental rule violations at her Tahoe City residence and vacant property directly across the street.According to an Oct. 19 TRPA staff report, violations on the vacant properties have included improper snow removal and the storage of a large cargo container and heavy construction equipment. TRPA staff have also found there was an unauthorized expansion of the pier at Fritz's residence and the addition of a second boatlift. The lake-front property has been the site of the League to Save Lake Tahoe's annual Oscar de la Renta Fashion Show fundraiser.In July, TRPA staff recommended the agency's governing board accept a proposed settlement where Fritz agreed to pay $35,000. Instead, the agency's legal committee determined the penalty was too low and requested Fritz or a representative attend any settlement approval.Fritz has submitted new information to TRPA that she believes warrants a lower fine. She has also told TRPA she is no longer willing to pay the $35,000 settlement, according to this month's staff report.Fritz is being represented by Jan Brisco. Brisco is the executive director of the Tahoe Lakefront Owners' Association, but is representing Fritz through her consulting business, Jan Brisco Consulting. She did not immediately return a request for comment late Tuesday afternoon.In the new information, Fritz said the vacant property has been used for overflow parking for more then 50 years and is grandfathered for that use under TRPA rules, according to the staff report. Fritz has also said the snow removal at the vacant property was an isolated incident is not a violation of the agency's code.In addition, Fritz said she did not own the residence or the vacant property at the time of the alleged violations, according to the staff report.TRPA has said Fritz has not provided information about the historical uses of the vacant property and found snow removal at the property was unnecessary.“The Fritz Property contains ample paved parking areas, and plowing these unpaved areas is not necessary for safe parking purposes,” according to the staff report. “Nor is there a reason to plow these unpaved areas for safe pedestrian access. Therefore, the plowing of these unpaved areas was a violation of Code Section 81.3.”TRPA has also found that Fritz has had an interest in both the residence and vacant property for the past decade. Staff have recommended the governing board accept the proposed $35,000 settlement, while giving legal staff the option to initiate litigation if a settlement is not reached.Board members have the option of approving staff's recommendation without discussion. The board meets starting at 9:30 a.m. at the North Tahoe Event Center in Kings Beach.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Oct 26, 2011 05:16PM Published Oct 25, 2011 08:31PM Copyright 2011 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.