Marina closer to expansion |

Marina closer to expansion

Emily Aughinbaugh and Michael Green

The Tahoe Keys Marina is two steps closer to expansion, but it wasn’t smooth sailing.

After a protracted public hearing and debate the South Lake Tahoe Planning Commission recommended approval of the marina’s master plan and Environmental Impact Statement on a 3-2 vote.

Voting for approval were commissioners Michael Phillips, Gail Taylor and Bob Hedley. Patrick Frega and Ted Long voted against it.

Earlier Frega moved to withhold recommending the marina project until a baseline for water quality standards was established. That motion failed on a 3-2 vote that reflected the same split.

Long said he supported the project, but questioned if all necessary procedures had been followed.

“I would suggest the based upon what we’ve heard here tonight, there’s grounds to get this (EIS) in court ” said Long.

Earlier Tuesday the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Advisory Planning Commission voted unanimously in favor of the plan, but not before attaching several conditions related to water quality monitoring. The city planning commission attached the same conditions to its recomendations

The issue goes before the TRPA governing board June 27 and the South Lake Tahoe City Council, which meets Tuesday.

Commission members did not follow League to Save Lake Tahoe spokesman Dave Roberts’ suggestion to postpone approving the EIS until a baseline of water quality in the marina is established.

The marina will begin monthly and holiday water sampling soon to determine the levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. A byproduct of unburned boat fuel, PAHs are considered harmful to aquatic life.

“The League is not opposed to boating and marina expansion provided the impacts of these expansions are fully mitigated,” Roberts said. “We don’t feel we’ve been given enough information at this time to support a precedent-setting EIS.”

Water sampling will continue throughout the implementation of the marina master plan to ensure PAH levels won’t exceed Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board standards of 20 parts per billion.

If the master plan is approved, the marina could start expanding as soon as spring 2002. The plan proposes adding space for 150 boats, 120 parking spaces and nearly 6,000 square feet of commercial floor area and indoor boat storage.

Marina co-owner Richard Horton expressed his concern with fairness of water quality sampling. Marina boats only make up a fraction of the total boat traffic in the Tahoe Keys, and planners have noted the difficulty of pinpointing pollutant sources.

“Boats sitting in slips do nothing to the environment,” Horton said Tuesday night.

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