Boat slips to be removed at Keys |

Boat slips to be removed at Keys

Emily Aughinbaugh

Owners of the Tahoe Keys Marina agreed Wednesday to remove almost 70 unauthorized boat parking spaces and pay a $60,000 fine to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

During the past three years the marina has reconfigured its boat slips allowing between 31 and 71 unauthorized boat parking spaces, according to Brian Judge, TRPA senior environmental specialist.

TRPA allowed an unpermitted dock to remain, to which the balloon and Para-dice 100-foot boats are moored, only if the marina obtains proper permits for it within a year.

The settlement requires all revenue from those boats to be placed into the

TRPA’s water quality mitigation fund until the dock is permitted. Tahoe Keys Marina co-owner Richard Horton did not know how much income the boats generate, but said he hopes he won’t have to pay into the mitigation fund for long.

As soon as the marina’s master plan is approved, he said subsequent plan projects, like the large boat dock, should gain proper permits.

The marina master plan, which Horton hopes to be approved in May, proposes construction of 150 boat slips, some of which have already been put in place without permits.

Horton said he and his partner Ray Carreau, who have owned the marina since 1973, have been working on the master plan for more than five years at a cost of $400,000. He said lack of staffing at the TRPA slowed down the master plan process.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “I’m just pleased to put this behind us and move forward.”

Horton estimated a loss of about $200,000 from the boat slip rentals. Last year marina boat slips rented for $12 to $14 per foot per month, depending on how long the slips were rented.

Horton did not know how expensive it will be to remove the 70 boat slips.

“It’s a very difficult proposition because there’s electrical strips that go out to each slip,” he said. “It’s going to be a big, big job.”

Horton said there is a waiting list of more than 30 customers because the marina could not rent out slips that will be removed.

Although Horton and Carreau will incur a large expense to remove the slips and possibly reconstruct them if the master plan is approved, League to Save Lake Tahoe officials said the marina should pay heavily for the unmitigated violations.

TRPA’s compact allows the agency to impose a penalty of up to $5,000 for each unauthorized space for every day the violation persists. Because of this, League Assistant Director Dave Roberts told the TRPA legal committee the $60,000 fine was too lenient.

Roberts said the marina could have been levied a fine of close to $169 million for the years of noncompliance.

“This has been occurring for several years and the TRPA has known about this for several years,” Roberts said. “Sixty thousand dollars doesn’t come close to $5,000 a day per violation. It’s merely a drop in the bucket.”

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