Committee loses court ruling but plans appeal
April 19, 2005
Although the Committee for Reasonable Regulation of Lake Tahoe lost its case against the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency last week, it has not thrown in the towel. Founded in 2001to directly challenge TRPA’s scenic ordinances, the committee plans to appeal, according to attorney Ron Zumbrun.
“Now, we’ll be able to go up on appeal faster,” Zumbrun said. “We first wait for the judgment to be entered and then we file for appeal and secondly, we argue the issues we think are relevant.”
A U.S. District Court judge dismissed arguments last week as part of an agreement last year which gave the committee the option to submit additional complaints. The committee stated TRPA was not consistent in their regulations when it came to scenic shorezone requirements and building large houses on the shoreline.
Committee founder and Incline resident Bob Wheeler said this latest chapter started in November when U.S. District Court Judge Edward Reed dismissed the charges against TRPA, but invited the committee to come with arguments.
“We argued that TRPA wasn’t enforcing their own regulations in the past and now, suddenly are going after big home builders on the lake,” Wheeler said.
“This is a case of lack of enforcement on the part of TRPA, and now, they’re trying to make up for it,” Zumbrun said. ” We just want some consistency.”
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Zumbrun said the TRPA compact states there should be a balance between nature and man and it has gone against its own regulation.
“Taking away the right of someone to build what they want puts the environment in a superior position to man,” Zumbrun said. “And what they want to allow protects views of the lake, but not at the ugly houses that result from it.”
TRPA Executive Director John Singlaub said he was happy with the decision and is glad the issue can now be put to rest.
“I’m hoping we can move on in a positive direction,” Singlaub said. “There are a whole lot of other things we should be working on, namely Pathway 2007, which will go a long way to taking care of problems like this.”
“This case is not about big or ugly houses,” Zumbrun said. “It’s about getting TRPA to work on what they should be working on and stop being arbitrary in their decisions.”
While Zumbrun waits to appeal, Wheeler said the whole thing boils down to TRPA being allowed to take shortcuts on environmental studies and taking control away from the individual and with this latest ruling, he’s not sure what the next step should be.
“I think we’ll have to wait and see what our options are,” Wheeler said. “This has been going on a very long time and I’m not sure we’ve seen the end of it.”