Retired land makes more area buildable in county | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Retired land makes more area buildable in county

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

For the first time since 1987, certain pieces of land on the California side of the Lake Tahoe Basin are expected to become easier to build on.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency staff said it can lessen building restrictions because sensitive land is being permanently retired in El Dorado County.

Every year about this time, the agency re-evaluates how much sensitive land has been retired in each of the basin’s jurisdictions, how many erosion control projects have been completed and how well environmental projects are being monitored.

This year, based on that analysis, the TRPA is recommending decreasing a score that property owners are required to reach before they can build on land in El Dorado and Douglas counties.

In El Dorado, the Individual Parcel Evaluation System line, or a score set after each property is evaluated by environmental experts, is expected to decrease from 725 to 693.

“This has been coming for several years,” said Carl Hasty, TRPA deputy director. “Analysis indicated it could happen.”

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Bill Carey, building official for El Dorado County, said he couldn’t respond to the news because he was not sure how much land would be affected.

“The real reaction will come when we find how many parcels are in there,” Carey said. “It’s always good when they open stuff up.”

As the waiting list to build a home in South Lake Tahoe gets close to the 10-year mark, more property owners are opting to buy and retire sensitive land, which allows them the right to build without the long wait.

Chick Fraunfelter, a real estate agent at Coldwell Banker McKinney & Associates, said he and his wife, also an agent, sold about 30 sensitive parcels in the last year.

“People are paying $30,000 and up for them,” Fraunfelter said. “There has been tremendous interest in the sensitive parcel pool.”

In Douglas County, the IPES line will likely drop from 408 to 106. That’s a significant drop, but an IPES decrease is nothing new for Douglas. The line has been lowered every year but one since 1994.

“I don’t think that many lots will come into play,” said John Peel of McCall Realty. “Our inventory isn’t what it is in California. That’s a huge drop. They’re looking for what’s left out there which is not much.”

The TRPA is being sued by Larry Hoffman, an attorney in Tahoe City, for the IPES lines it has set for El Dorado and Placer counties. The lawsuit claims the agency’s system is illegal because it denies building rights on private land.

Hoffman, who represents the Tahoe Sierra Preservation Council, is arguing that the agency shouldn’t be allowed to prevent building on land without compensating the property owner.

A Sacramento judge found the suit not timely. Hoffman has appealed the ruling and the case is still pending.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at gcrofton@tahoedailytribune.com

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