Agency prepares violation notice in airport tree cut |

Agency prepares violation notice in airport tree cut

Jeff Munson

Despite giving the city of South Lake Tahoe pending approval on Wednesday to remove or trim about 300 trees at the Lake Tahoe Airport, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency has not backed down from its intention to continue its legal action against the city.

The agency that sets policy for land- use issues at the lake has worked with the city over the last few months on its permit request to cut down another 1,700 trees at the airport. Through mutual cooperation, the agency been able to reduce the number of trees that need to be cut or topped to about 300.

In a divisive move, plans will proceed in the removal or topping of the trees, though some members of the board felt the agency staff’s willingness to approve the additional tree cut was unacceptable.

Agency executive director John Singlaub told board members Wednesday that the agency intend to follow through on its notice to the city, regardless of further tree cutting allowed by the agency.

“With respect to the ongoing investigation of the tree violation this past May, staff will be issuing a notice of violation to the city within the next few weeks,” Singlaub said. “The violation notice will include a proposed settlement. As you know, this matter is of great public interest and I will keep you informed as we finalize our plans.”

In July, South Lake Tahoe officials asked for a permit to cut 1,700 trees at the airport for safety reasons. Singlaub noted that since the controversy began, the agency has been working with the city to reduce the number from 1,700 to 300.

The agency intends is to issue this permit to the City within the next two weeks, Singlaub told board members. The permit will not allow clear cutting of any trees and will have a condition that a timber harvest plan be prepared for the airport, he said.

“We’ve been mindful of the high profile nature of the airport issues and have heard from the community that they want us to hold government agencies accountable to the same environmental standards as private homeowners,” Singlaub told board members. “We also appreciate the need to work together with the City for the greater good of the community. I believe the approach we’re taking to proceed with the violation process while simultaneously issuing the additional tree cutting permit at staff level is our best course of action.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.