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Diverse group to complete shorezone review

Patrick McCartney

After nearly a year of discussion and debate over the future of recreation and land-use in the Tahoe Basin, a broad-based group will try to achieve consensus on all unresolved issues during a three-day workshop that begins Monday.

In a climax to the workshop Wednesday, the shorezone partnership committee will tackle a host of proposed boating regulations aimed at reducing the impact on Lake Tahoe from recreational boating. Their recommendations will help guide the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s governing board when it revises the agency’s regulations for shoreline development and recreation.

The group will consider a number of measures, including an inspection and maintenance program for all boats at Lake Tahoe, adoption of a more-restrictive noise ordinance and a limitation on motorized watercraft and rental watercraft.

But the issue of a possible ban on current-technology two-stroke engines will not be on the table, said Colleen Shade, an assistant TRPA planner.

“The direction to the committee is that we are not interested in whether there is a ban or not on two-stroke engines,” Shade said. “What we are interested in is a mitigation program to address the effects of boating.”

The TRPA board on Feb. 26 agreed to consider phasing out all two-cycle engines with carburetors by 1999, saying the discharge of unburned gasoline and oil was harmful to Lake Tahoe. The board will vote on the controversial proposal at its meeting in June.

But the board referred a wide range of proposed actions on boating to the partnership committee to consider and flesh out. Discussion will not be limited to the nine measures making up the proposed Motorized Watercraft Mitigation Program suggested by the board, Shade said.

As with all partnership meetings, public testimony will not be accepted. Instead, the public can speak to members of the committee who represent their interests. Participating in the year-long process have been representatives of the basin’s property owners, yacht clubs, marinas, shoreline concessions, tour boats, environmental groups and local and regional public agencies.

Beginning Monday, the partnership committee will work its way through a list of the 10 issues the group previously decided were the most important to address in shorezone regulations. Included will be discussions of public access to Lake Tahoe, the number of buoys and piers allowed by buildout, the lake’s fisheries, noise and bank erosion.

Rochelle Nason, executive director of the League to Save Lake Tahoe, predicted that the issue of shoreline development, including the number of piers which should be allowed on the lake, will be the most difficult to resolve.

“The process has been constructive, but certainly the biggest issues lie ahead,” Nason said.


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