League to Save Lake Tahoe looking at new office | TahoeDailyTribune.com

League to Save Lake Tahoe looking at new office

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The League to Save Lake Tahoe is in the process of finalizing the purchase of a new facility.

The environmental organization, popularly known by its “Keep Tahoe Blue” slogan, is in the process of buying a new office “several hundred yards” down the street of its current location, according to League Executive Director Rochelle Nason.

Nason declined to specify the exact location of the potential facility, a general timeline for the move or the cost of the transaction because the purchase is still pending.

The League to Save Lake Tahoe currently rents a building on 955 Emerald Bay Road, a parcel which is situated on a ecologically sensitive stream environment zone.

“I think the League to Save Lake Tahoe will be in a better position as an environmental organization if they are able to move its operations out of a stream environment zone,” said Dennis Oliver spokesman for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. “There is a built-in irony there that I’m sure the League did not enjoy.”

While Nason acknowledged stream restoration was important for Lake Tahoe, she said she did not believe moving the League’s offices would necessarily result in restoration of that particular area and disagreed the perceived irony was a primary motivation for the move.

“The league advocates restoration but our move (from the currently occupied premises) will not mean this property is restored,” said Nason. “This building is legally existing and it was built prior to many of the area’s environmental restrictions. The League would like to see all streamzones around Lake Tahoe restored, but we also respect the property rights of legally existing buildings.”

Nason said reasons for the move include cost efficiency, office expansion, and an upgrade of community outreach programs.

“Part of the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s mission is education of the public about environmental issues affecting Lake Tahoe,” said Nason. “The new facility will provide a more visible spot for community outreach efforts.”

Nason further said the new building will meet the organization’s need for increased office space, will provide a long-term home and allow the organization to operate more cost efficiently.

“Cost is always important to nonprofit organizations,” said Nason. “We are continually challenged to develop ways to utilize our donations efficiently.”

Oliver termed the 955 Emerald Bay Road parcel and surrounding properties as one of the “hot spots” in the basin primed for environmental redevelopment.

“There is a strong environmental need of taking pavement off of streams,” said Oliver. “If there is a way of replacing the existing parcels with environmentally compatible facilities with catch basins and water treatment systems, that would go a long way to increasing the health of the lake.”

Oliver said the properties surround “the Y” intersection in South Lake Tahoe are built upon an environmentally critical stream and wetland zone, which according to Oliver, prior to development, functioned “as the lungs of Lake Tahoe.”

Streams and wetlands act as a natural filtering system for the lake and the increase of development in South Lake Tahoe and other sensitive areas has led to more sediment and pollutants gaining entry to the lake and compromising its famed clarity.

Oliver said there is nothing the TRPA can do to force existing buildings to comply with new tougher environmental restrictions.

“It is privately owned land,” he said. “All the TRPA is capable of doing at this point is providing incentives to compel local businesses to invest in a more environmentally compatible operation that doesn’t detract from their bottom line.”

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