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Lack of shorezone rules causing lags at TRPA

Gregory Crofton

Construction of piers at Lake Tahoe could be put on hold until rules for the shorezone are adopted.

John Singlaub, executive director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, is asking for a freeze on the review of shorezone projects until shorezone rules are in place, which might not happen until December.

Singlaub is scheduled to bring the issue before the TRPA Governing Board when it meets Wednesday at Stateline.

Lakefront property owners, who own 1,600 of the 35,000 parcels of land in the Lake Tahoe Basin, have been waiting about 14 years for the TRPA to decide how the shorezone will be regulated. Two drafts of a report were released in 1995 and 1999, but each failed to be approved because they were so controversial.

The report will deal with issues created by things such as piers, boatlifts, buoys, public access, fish habitat and sensitive plants. The report’s third draft was to be delivered by June, but apparently work being done by a consultant hired to compile the report was not moving along fast enough.

Consequently, the TRPA has taken control of the study and it will devote 16 staff members who have a deadline of July 1 to deliver the report to the public, said Julie Regan, TRPA communications director.

Jan Brisco, executive director of the Tahoe Lakefront Owners’ Association, said the proposal from Singlaub to defer projects from review until after rules are adopted is unjust.

“They are calling it deferral, but it is a moratorium in my book,” said Brisco, noting that money to finance the years of study that have gone into the report came from fees paid by lakefront owners that could have been used to help the lakeshore environment.

“How could (the study) be so derailed at this point?” Brisco said. “We’re hoping to at least have a workable solution by Wednesday.”

Regan said there are 12 pier projects that have been turned into the agency that would be affected by the deferral, and about 10 or 12 other projects in the process of being worked on by consultants.

“It’s not a moratorium,” Regan said. “It’s a deferral of the processing of these applications.”

Once the shorezone environmental impact statement is released, it will remain available for the public to comment on for 90 days.

“This is a really important study,” Regan said. “We understand and appreciate this is an inconvenience to people, but we’re doing our best to makes sure it’s done accurately and fairly as possible.”

Also Wednesday, the TRPA Governing Board is expected to:

n Review a proposal that would allow the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District at Incline Village to issue tree removal permits to residents to create defensible space around homes.

n Approve a fee increase to review projects that require a “shoreland scenic assessment” from $206 to $309.

n Approve a $75 “information technology surcharge” per project so the TRPA can convert its application system from paper to electronic.


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