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September 28, 2012
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Meeting on contested Tahoe Donner marina project scheduled for Friday night

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Tahoe Donner Association will host a Beach Club Marina project meeting Friday evening to provide information and get additional feedback from homeowners about the proposal, which has sparked some environmental concerns.

The main issue appears to be over the cutting down of trees within Tahoe Donner, a 7,000-acre homeowner association that features both public and private amenities such as a golf course, cross country trails and tennis courts, in order to make way for marina renovations.

As the proposal stands, 19 Jeffrey pine trees on the upper lawn out of 121 trees in marina area are proposed to be felled, according to Tom Johns, president of the Tahoe Donner Board of Directors, all of which were chosen by the association’s licensed forester.

Three of the 19 trees proposed to be cut are dead, and about another six are either dying or diseased, he said.

“The rest are really too crowded together, and by removing them, it’ll make a much healthier forest,” Johns said.

Those challenging the project are calling for fewer trees to be cut.

“With a few modifications we can save a number of trees,” said Patricia Schifferle, a resident of Tahoe Donner.

Johns said there is a lot misinformation out about how many trees are proposed to be cut, which he hopes can be cleared up at tonight’s meeting.

“There’s a tremendous amount of rumor and innuendo and misstatement of fact out there about what this is all about,” he said. “It only sounds like we’re going in and clear cutting the whole thing.”

As the proposal stands, a new terrace will be constructed, the deck will be expanded with new glass installed to block the wind for diners, the upper picnic area will be enlarged while making it ADA compliant, and the beach area will be extended. Grading and drainage improvements will also be made to reduce current beach erosion problems.

These renovations were decided upon based on feedback from homeowners who attended past board meetings, Johns said.

“The marina is one of our most used areas, and if you go down there on a summer weekend, you can barely get in the place, and we do need more room,” he said.

The proposed changes to the marina have been met with mostly positive reviews, said Robb Etnyre, general manager of Tahoe Donner.

“Overall, homeowners are very excited about the project,” he said.

Schifferle, however, does have some concerns about the project beyond the cutting down of trees.

“Our usefulness is access to Donner Lake. I think expanding the eating place would really harm people’s access to the lake,” she said, by creating less space on the lower lawn for people to drop off their boats and other beach equipment. “It would cause congestion and a staging problem for people at the lake.”

Homeowner feedback such as Schifferle’s will be considered at tonight’s meeting, Etnyre said.

The goal of those challenging the project — which includes the Sierra Club and the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation — is to modify the project and to get it scaled back, according to Schifferle.

Etnyre said there is no definite date as of now for when the marina renovation plan will go before the Truckee Planning Commission. A commission review was planned for Sept. 18, according to a press release, but that was postponed by the Tahoe Donner Board of Directors in order to get additional membership feedback and to clear up any misinformation.

Johns said the hope is to start the marina renovations next spring.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Sep 28, 2012 06:24PM Published Sep 28, 2012 06:18PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.