Judge temporarily blocks new buoys, piers on Lake Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Judge temporarily blocks new buoys, piers on Lake Tahoe

A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction, temporarily halting construction of new piers, buoys and boat ramps at Lake Tahoe.

Senior U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton in Sacramento on Friday ruled in favor of a partial injunction over Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s update to its shorezone ordinances.

The Tahoe Area Sierra Club and the League to Save Lake Tahoe argued that the TRPA didn’t properly review environmental impacts before adopting a shoreline development plan last fall.

Critics argued the plan would have allowed building 138 new piers, buoys and boat ramps, leading to more boat trips and environmental harm.

But the TRPA argues that those “development caps” and mitigation measures in the shorezone ordinances make regulations more protective than previous efforts.

A March 16 trial date was set.

Until then, developers can file permits for new projects, but no actual construction will be allowed until the lawsuit is resolved.

Both sides of the lawsuit claimed victory following the judge’s ruling on Friday.

“We applaud Judge Karlton’s ruling on our injunction,” Earthjustice attorney Wendy Park said in a statement. “This ruling will ensure that development of the Lake Tahoe shoreline does not continue before the court rules on TRPA’s development plan. This is a victory for our clients, for Lake Tahoe, and for everyone who appreciates Tahoe’s unique and irreplaceable crystal clear waters and magnificent beauty.”

But, because the judge didn’t rule in favor of a full injunction, TRPA officials also said they considered the judge’s ruling favorable.

“TRPA successfully made the case to continue the permitting process for buoys and piers to further our goal to improve how boating activities are regulated on Lake Tahoe,” TRPA attorney Nicole Rinke said in a statement. “While no construction of new piers or buoys is allowed until after the lawsuit is sorted out by the courts, TRPA will continue moving forward to carry out the new shorezone plan and is optimistic the courts will agree with our approach when the lawsuit is resolved.”

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