North Tahoe Marina scales back its plan for expansion |

North Tahoe Marina scales back its plan for expansion

Kara Fox
Jason Kelley / North Lake Tahoe Bonanza / The North Tahoe Marina plans on expanding its facilities by roughly 180 boat slips.

TRUCKEE – Owners of the North Tahoe Marina in Tahoe Vista have reduced their proposed expansion plan after neighbors and public agencies voiced concerns.

In addition to a reduction in the number of boat slips proposed, a kayak access lane in front of the marina is planned.

“My two big issues are my existing shallow harbor and prevailing winds. It is an environmental hazard and it is unsafe for my employees and customers,” said Jim Walsh, owner of North Tahoe Marina, on why he wants to expand his marina. “It is necessary to reconfigure the existing moorage and provide increased public access for a safer, more beautiful and environmentally-friendly marina.”

Walsh is currently creating a master plan for the marina, which is required for expansion under the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s rules.

TRPA required that a steering committee be established, which includes local, county and state agency representatives and adjacent property owners. The goal of the steering committee is to identify environmental, community and regulatory parameters to assist in developing master plan alternatives.

A separate analysis will be completed by an independent third party environmental consultant that will evaluate impacts associated with the various options.

The steering committee began meeting last fall when 234 boat slips were presented, but Walsh is set to pro pose an alternative of 183 slips at Thursday’s meeting. The marina is permitted for 141 boat permits, but there are currently only 30 slip permits at the marina, according to Kelly Simpson, a consultant on the project with South Shore-based Design Workshop, Inc.

“Throughout the steering committee process we have documented issues and concerns raised during meetings and addressed these in revised marina design alternatives,” said Steve Noll of Design Workshop. “The proposed improvements to the marina will enhance the marina operations and recreation opportunities on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe.”

Simpson pointed out that the current alternative is 51 less slips than originally proposed and the overall footprint size has decreased 22 percent. A kayak lane was also added after concerns raised from the public.

Walsh and Simpson stressed that the project is still in the “very, very preliminary” stages and that the master plan is the first step. An environmental impact study has to be completed before the project can be presented to TRPA, at which time it will be determined if the project is feasible.

“We’re really interested in working together on a solution that works,” Simpson said. “They want to make an environmentally-friendly marina. The Walshes are committed to doing the right thing.”

Alvina Patterson, owner of the Holiday House in Tahoe Vista, has publicly expressed concerns over the project, including the scenic impact and the size of the plan. The League To Save Lake Tahoe’s program director, John Friedrich, called the expansion a “preposterous project proposal” and said it is out-of-scale for the lake.

“It would privatize and wall-off a quarter of a million-square-feet of Lake Tahoe. It would add another concentrated area of pollution on Lake Tahoe. Most of the marinas on Lake Tahoe are pollution hot spots,” Friedrich said. “It should not even be seriously considered until a shorezone policy is adopted [by TRPA]. Whether or not any slips should be added at that location should be considered as part of the shorezone plan.”

Jeff Rose, owner of both Tahoe Vistana and Tahoe Sands in Tahoe Vista, has a different take on the proposal.

“I think it should happen,” Rose said. “I think it’s going to help build infrastructure on North Tahoe. Tahoe Vista is slated as the recreation place on the North Shore and it is in our community plan. It will help lodging, restaurants and the community. I think we need that marina expansion.”

But whatever the view of the plan is, Walsh noted that he just wants the community to attend Thursday’s meeting to hear about the project. Results of the meeting were unavailable by press time.

“Come in open-minded because there are a lot of environmental benefits to the lake in this project,” Walsh said. “It is very early in the process and this will be looked at in the EIR/EIS process. We believe this will be a good thing for the lake and we just want it to be studied.”

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