League appeals Sierra Colina decision
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The League to Save Lake Tahoe filed an appeal Wednesday to an August court decision allowing a South Shore housing development to move forward.
The environmental group filed the appeal to require the Sierra Colina Village project to account for increased runoff that would be generated by a U-shaped road through the development, according to a Wednesday statement from the League.
Sierra Colina is an 18-acre, 50-unit subdivision of single and multi-family homes off Lake Village Drive in Douglas County. The project was approved by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in June 2009.
At the heart of the League’s concern is TRPA’s designation of the road as a “linear public facility,” according to the statement. The designation exempted the road from mitigation calculations designed to protect water quality in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The League contends the road is private and should not have been given the exemption.
“There are volumes of scientific research that indicates this type of exemption from coverage restrictions threatens the Lake’s water quality and clarity,” said Carl Young, the League’s interim executive director, in the statement. “The project’s additional coverage will allow sediment and harmful pollutants to make their way through the watershed and enter Lake Tahoe, worsening the Lake’s clarity.”
In the August decision, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Jones found TRPA acted appropriately in its approval of Sierra Colina and found the project is consistent with improving the quality of the Lake Tahoe region.
The road is the “key component” of connecting existing pedestrian and bike rails in the area and serves the needs of people other than residents of Sierra Colina, Jones said.
On Thursday, TRPA spokeswoman Kristi Boosman said the agency was hoping to devote resources elsewhere, but was not surprised by the League’s appeal.
“It’s not unexpected, but its unfortunate that all the parties are having to invest precious resources in litigation, rather than where they can do real good in improving the condition of Lake Tahoe, our communities and our local economy,” Boosman said. “That is where these resources are needed.”
– Editor’s note: This story was update at 2:34 p.m. Oct. 3 to include comments from the TRPA.