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Environmental security deposit to increase

The security deposit Lake Tahoe residents and contractors place in order to get permission to do environmental upgrades on single-family residential properties may soon be rising.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, when issuing permits, requires a deposit to ensure environmental upgrades – called Best Management Practices – are completed. That requirement applies to all projects. A worksheet is used to determine the amount, which equals 110 percent of the estimated cost.

For more than a decade, however, TRPA has allowed a flat rate of $2,500 for typical single-family dwelling projects.



It was not a written, adopted provision, said TRPA Senior Environmental Specialist Mike Solt, but it was accepted for “typical” projects. Use of the worksheet was still allowed.

Trying to coordinate efforts in the basin, TRPA has developed several Memorandum’s of Understanding with other Lake Tahoe agencies.




Since 1992, through an MOU with TRPA, El Dorado County has been issuing residential building permits within its jurisdiction. For years, however, the county has used the worksheet rather than the flat rate. Some people paid less than $2,500 for their deposits; most paid more.

Concern was raised over this last year, and TRPA and the county have been working on a way to solve it. Officials re-evaluated what 110 percent of a typical project would cost now and came up with $3,300.

TRPA last month contacted the jurisdictions with the single-family MOUs – El Dorado, Placer and Washoe counties as well as South Lake Tahoe – recommending using the flat $3,300 amount for typical projects. The use of the worksheet, with the potential of being higher or lower, still would be an option.

“It’s just a matter of updating (TRPA regulations). We think the amendment more accurately reflects what today’s cost of instituting BMPs is,” Solt said.

The final decision of whether to use the $3,300 rate will be made by the jurisdiction issuing the permit. Homeowners will be able to choose to go with either the flat rate or the adjusted worsheet amount.

Lars Sterner of the city of South Lake Tahoe Building Department, in order to give contractors and residents plenty of notice about the change, said he hoped to keep from implementing the $3,300 number until the 2000 building season.

El Dorado County is in the process of developing a policy based on the new information, said Larry Lohman, operations supervisor of the Lake Tahoe office of the El Dorado County Building Department.

TRPA handles the permits for single-family work in Douglas County and already has instituted the $3,300 security deposit there.

In all of the jurisdictions, the worksheet to determine 110 percent of the estimated cost still will be used for out-of-the-ordinary projects.


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