League might offer shorezone solution
As the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency readies for its October meeting, agency officials are hinting, at least for the time-being, that no shorezone plan or ordinances are to be released in the near future.
Old news perhaps to some, yet one basin group is now showing signs that proactive measures may be taken in the wake of a plan’s absence.
Officials from the League to Save Lake Tahoe are planning to encourage TRPA staff to take a different tact.
New suggested measures may include devising an interim shorezone plan, adhering to all environmental mitigation procedures without new construction or buoy permits.
After the interim study is complete, a new shorezone doctrine would be folded into the basin-wide plan currently being mapped out by the Pathway 2007 group.
“At this point, given the new delay, it looks like it’d make the most sense to adopt shorezone plan as part of new regional plan,” said John Friedrich, League to Save Lake Tahoe programs coordinator. “It would make sense to adopt an interim plan, especially to test out environmental mitigations, and test out to see how well they work.”
While the TRPA board met in May to discuss and agree upon what the shorezone plan’s ordinance would look like – and TRPA staff agreed that this summer would be the best time for the plan’s release – the ordinances were not codified in time. Last month, several board members, including Jerry Waldie and Coe Swobe, suggested that a release be postponed until next summer, when the maximum number of basin residents, both full- and part-time, are available for a 60-day review.
TRPA officials countered that ample time for public review has been built into the process. Further, they noted accommodations, including perhaps hosting a workshop in the Bay Area, could be made after the plan is released.
A new shorezone plan has been a top priority of TRPA Executive Director John Singlaub since coming on board as head of the bi-state agency three years ago. Singlaub has said he believes the undertaking is big enough that it should be completed part and parcel from a basin-wide plan.
News this week that basin groups may push for an interim plan to collect data on the lake’s clarity and health did not surprise TRPA officials.
“I think certainly the league is entitled to make a presentation under public comment,” said TRPA spokeswoman Julie Regan. “We’ll see if they present new information. We have already received a major amount of comments discussing the idea of mitigation strategies first.”
Regan said TRPA is going to continue to move forward on the shorezone separately from pathway unless otherwise directed by the board.
Other environmentalists believe the opposite, that folding the shorezone plan into the basin-wide plan is the only sensical approach.
“In Pathway 2007 we’re trying to set the direction for the next 20 years,” said Sierra Club chair Michael Donahoe. “We need to figure out a way to incorporate shorezone into Pathway 2007 and not do something with shorezone and then when we get to finalizing pathway, having to backtrack. Once we make the decision we have to meet the consistency.
“If we need an interim plan for Shorezone development, so be it. There should be no more private piers in this interim period either.”
Indeed, league spokesman Friedrich said that it’s time for the TRPA to take logical steps and incorporate shorezone into a regional plan.
“What’s the point of looking ahead 20 years when you’re looking behind at something else?” he asked.