TRPA reviews power line work, passenger ferry and resort activities |

TRPA reviews power line work, passenger ferry and resort activities

Tom Lotshaw

Power line upgrades, a long-envisioned passenger ferry and more summer activities at Heavenly Mountain Resort were the focus of public hearings Wednesday at Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

No action was taken at the Advisory Planning Commission meeting. The three projects are in draft or early scoping stages of environmental review and out for public comment.

On the North Shore, Liberty Utilities proposes to upgrade and in some places realign its “loop” of transmission lines serving the Truckee, Kings Beach, Tahoe City and Squaw Valley areas.

Mike Smart, president of the utility company, said the project is all about service reliability. At times, aging power lines don’t have enough capacity for the even the current demands being placed upon them at peak hours, he said.

“This project is absolutely necessary,” Smart told the planning commission. “Even with no additional load growth, I need to do this project. I’m behind the eight ball on current load.”

Several people spoke against the proposed work. They cited habitat and tree loss, degradation of scenic areas and worries about the project’s cost and potential to induce growth among their concerns.

A draft environmental impact statement has been prepared for the project and is out for public comment.

Comments are being accepted to help guide environmental reviews for the Lake Tahoe Passenger Ferry Project.

While still in early stages of planning and design, a locally preferred alternative would establish year-round ferry service between South Lake Tahoe and Tahoe City, said Alfred Knotts, project manager for the Tahoe Transportation District.

Heavenly Mountain Resort’s proposal to expand summer activities also is out for public comment to help guide environmental reviews.

The resort envisions an array of new on-mountain activities, mostly located in already-developed ski areas. That includes zip lines, rope courses, canopy tours, a mountain bike park and a downhill alpine sled track.

More information about the projects, how to comment on them and additional public hearings is available online at

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