Appeals court won’t change pier ruling |

Appeals court won’t change pier ruling

Brendan Riley

CARSON CITY (AP) – A federal appeals court has rejected a bid for an 11-judge review of a three-judge panel’s ruling that favored plans by two wealthy, politically connected Nevadans to build a big pier on Lake Tahoe’s upscale Glenbrook Bay.

The Glenbrook Preservation Association asked last month for the “en banc” review by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals of the panel’s ruling that favored casino lobbyist and developer Harvey Whittemore and Larry Ruvo, Nevada’s largest liquor wholesaler.

The San Francisco-based court’s latest order said the full court had been advised of the review request, and “no judge has requested a vote on whether to rehear the matter en banc. … No further filings will be accepted in these closed cases.”

“That’s the end of it,” Leif Reid, attorney for Whittemore and Ruvo in the case, said Tuesday, adding that the order “pretty much tells you what the 9th Circuit Court thinks. Every judge agreed that the pier should be allowed to be built, that it’s a project that benefits the lake.”

The preservation association’s lawyer, Ron Zumbrun, said other legal options are still being considered, including a possible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or a request to the California-Nevada Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to take another look at the proposal.

Zumbrun had argued a full environmental impact statement should have been required. He also said efforts to link the pier with an entertainment compound on Ruvo’s property, to show cumulative, adverse impacts, had been termed speculative in earlier proceedings – but now there’s proof of the scale of the overall project.

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Zumbrun has said the preservation association provided photographs showing people arriving by bus, limousine and even helicopters for political fund-raisers and other events at the compound, but the significance of that evidence was ignored.

Ruvo and Whittemore have proposed a 300-foot-long floating pier with up to four boat lifts. They spent heavily for lawyers and other costs for their protracted pier-building battle that has played out in federal, Nevada and California courtrooms, the Nevada Legislature and the TRPA over the past several years.