SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The signing of a settlement agreement has ended a “protracted legal battle” between South Lake Tahoe and the League to Save Lake Tahoe over the city’s general plan update.
The city and the environment group have entered into an agreement in which the League will not appeal its lawsuit against the city and the city agrees not to seek payment for legal fees, according to a Monday statement from the city.
Last month, a federal judge dismissed the League’s lawsuit, finding the group failed to demonstrate it was probable the interests of the group and its members would be threatened by the fact the city did not submit the general plan update to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency for approval.
The League contended the city’s review of the general plan update did not address the environmental damage that could be caused under the plan or suggest adequate measures to mitigate potential degradation.
The litigation sought to stop implementation of the plan, which will guide development in South Lake Tahoe for the next 20 years.
Mayor Claire Fortier said she was hopeful the settlement would usher in a new era at Lake Tahoe.
“The City’s General Plan Update is one of the greenest and most sustainable plans in the state of California,” Fortier said in the statement. “We are proud of our plan and the community we aspire to be. Let’s hope that the settlement of this lawsuit heralds a new beginning to working through the problems and potentials of Lake Tahoe outside of a courtroom.”
Recently hired League to Save Lake Tahoe Executive Director Darcie Goodman-Collins said the environmental group “weighed all of our options” following January’s dismissal, but said the settlement was the best long-term solution and one way to “bridge the animosity” between the city and the basin’s environmental community.
“We decided not to appeal the decision. And mainly it’s because, as of recently, we’ve started an open dialogue with the city and a lot of the city council members,” Goodman-Collins said Monday.
“We feel that we can come up with more long-term solutions toward reasonable redevelopment and smart growth and economic growth through a collaborative process.”
She said there’s “no reason” for the city and the League to not be on the same page.
“There will be disagreement, but it doesn’t mean we can’t have a positive relationship,” Goodman-Collins said.