Editorial: Stalling release of shorezone rules
March 26, 2006
An already belated review of the new Shorezone plan will be officially postponed for at least another month today as Tahoe Regional Planning Agency staff have requested additional time to clarify and codify the ordinances that will enforce the first lake development and use rules in more than two decades.
Speculation has been rampant that pressure from at least two governing board members to delay any official hearings on the Shorezone plan until summer residents return has played a role in the decision, but TRPA executive director John Singlaub said the time is now.
There has not been a Shorezone plan for nearly 20 years.
This summer will mark the beginning of the third year of negotiations on the “new” Shorezone plan and, surprisingly, both environmental groups (some who’ve said they represent “the real owners of the lake – the citizens”) have made seemingly strange bedfellows with absentee lakefront homeowners (some who’ve said they represent “the real owners of the lakefront – themselves”) who will both abstain from bickering in order to stall the plan a bit more.
Once again, TRPA gets skewered in the process.
Singlaub has made a play for a Shorezone plan since joining the agency in January 2003; and while it finally looks like he’s about to push his defining piece of policy through, he’s starting to butt up against weathered politicos representing long-time landholders and savvy environmentalists cleverly asking seemingly unanswerable questions in the role of filibuster.
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“Yes, the ordinances need a little more time, that’s not a stall tactic,” Singlaub said. “If anyone wants to get this done it’s the staff that’s been working on this for the past couple of years – but we need the ordinances to be written the right way, especially when going into public hearings this spring.
“Our target date is April.”
But April may be too soon for the unlikely alliance of those sitting on an $11 million lakefront home and those who’ve spent the last decade tracking lake clarity one grain of roadsand at a time.
Environmentalists like Sierra Club chair Michael Donahoe, in fact, want staff to “re-think the entire Shorezone issue” by taking into consideration the fact that the lake is simply impaired.
“And until it is not impaired, how can we facilitate more boat traffic and more private development – period?” Donahoe asked rhetorically.
We can’t say how people should react to any proposed ordinances, because, well – we don’t know what they are yet.
But we, at the Bonanza, are curious to see the day when local environmental activists and wealthy lakefront homeowners stand shoulder-to- shoulder to protect the lake and their own vision of its value against the agency charged with ensuring its long-term health.
– From the Incline Village North Lake Tahoe Bonanza.