Setting facts straight on Keys Marina | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Setting facts straight on Keys Marina

Several weeks ago Claire Fortier wrote about the operation of the Tahoe Keys Marina and TRPA’S approval of the Tahoe Keys Marina Master Plan. Richard Horton, one of the owners of the marina, has written the following guest editorial in response.

— Tahoe Keys Marina symbolizes the excesses of the wealthy.

The marina caters to all those who wish to use the marina. This includes small boats as well as large. Rich people use the marina but so do poor people and all of those in between. The marina launches 50 foot yachts and 6 foot rubber rafts – sailing yachts and kayaks. Use of the marina for access to the lake is available to all. Wealthy people have their own buoys and piers for their boats. The rest of us need to use a marina to launch and store our boats.



— The Tahoe Keys Homeowners Association and the marina have been at odds for years.

The marina and the Tahoe Keys Homeowners Association (TKPOA) get along very well. This was not always the case but in 1991 TKPOA, the marina and the Tahoe Keys Beach and Harbor Association entered into an agreement that became a judgment of the El Dorado County Superior Court which spells out in detail the duties and rights of each as respects the other. There have been no disputes since 1991. A few of the homeowners have complained about the marina’s operation but this is less than 10 people out of the several thousand that are members of TKPOA. I’m sure the management of TKPOA will confirm this.



— The marina has not been the best steward of its land.

The marina has invested large sums of money and effort by landscaping many areas with trees, shrubs and flowers, installing a new boat ramp, new rest rooms, a new north bulkhead, re-enforcing all other bulkheads, moving all fuel tanks above ground, paving parking areas, replacing old decaying docks with new docks, installing and maintaining lighting on Venice Drive installing and maintaining two holding tank pumps and a portable toilet dump, installing new gas pumps, installing bilge pump out equipment, installing waste oil dump containers. The marina also provides space for Coast Guard Auxiliary boat inspections, yacht club meetings and other civic organization meetings. The tenants of the Fresh Ketch restaurant have improved the restaurant from a hamburger stand to one of the nicest restaurants on Lake Tahoe. The boat store is one of the finest in northern California.

— The boat yard has been packed with old trailers and tools.

The trailers belong to boaters who have the marina store their trailers. The trailers are not “packed” but are parked adjacent to each other and most cannot be seen from the street. Very few are old. “Tools” may refer to equipment, which the marina does have but the equipment is all necessary to the operation of a modern marina. Often the marina management has seemed more willing to make a buck than preserve the lake.

The marina is the primary access to the lake for South Lake Tahoe and for boaters who visit South Lake Tahoe. The marina contributes greatly to the economic well being of South Lake Tahoe and thus to the support of the agencies that work to maintain the lake. The marina is equipped to treat all hazardous material spills – and to help adjacent property when spills occur on such. The marina spent five years and $500,000 on a Master Plan and EIR/EIS which will result in the marina doing a great deal of mitigation work if and when the marina is able to install additional slips. As noted above, fuel tanks have been placed above ground, holding tanks pump outs have been installed and the marina otherwise operated in accordance with BMPs.

— The worst oversight was not widening the narrow channel to the lake to allow for an increase in boat traffic.

Experts have found the channel does not need widening to accommodate the proposed increase in marina slips. TRPA hired LSA Associates Inc. to do the EIR/EIS for the Master Plan. LSA in turn hired Moffat & Nichols Engineers, a well known and respected marina engineering group, to do the marina facility and boating congestion study portion of the EIR/EIS. Moffat & Nichols determined that 84 boats per hour would travel the East Channel on a peak day and that the capacity of the channel was 127 boats per hour. The marina has no objection to widening the channel if and when it appears necessary but, according to Moffat & Nichols, no widening will be required by the expansion contemplated by the Master Plan.

— The other mistake the TRPA made was not requiring more parking. While 120 spaces sounds adequate, that is one parking space for every four boats.

This comment assumes that the marina will have a total of 120 parking spaces for 480 boats. The marina presently has 154 existing parking spaces. 120 spaces will be added for a total of 274 spaces – all of which is recited in the Master Plan. This is one parking space for every 1.75 boats – not one space for each four boats. The EIR/EIS study found the proposed parking to be adequate.

— The reality is that the marina expansion will create traffic congestion on the ground and in the water, and it will do so without the necessary factors in place to ease the congestion.

Please review the mitigation requirements of the EIR/EIS, all of which have been found to mitigate any traffic congestion. The measures include the marina contributing to the cost of upgrading the Tahoe Keys Boulevard and Highway 50 intersection and the “Y” intersection. A copy of the mitigation provisions is available at the TRPA office. The marina followed the Master Plan process to the letter. This included TRPA designating a Screening Panel on which all interested parties were invited to serve. Those most active in the Screening Panel were representatives of TRPA, Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association, California Tahoe Conservancy, Lahontan Water Quality Control Board, City of South Lake Tahoe and California State Lands. Representatives of the League to Save Lake Tahoe attended a few early meetings. The marina retained the environmental firm of Parson Harland Bartholomew & Associates Inc. of Sacramento to assist the marina. TRPA retained LSA Associates to do the EIR/EIS at the expense of the marina. Many public meetings were held over a five year period. The Master Plan and EIR/EIS were reviewed and approved at four lengthy public hearings held by the TRPA Advisory Planning Commission, the Planning Commission of the city of South Lake Tahoe, the Tahoe City Council and the TRPA Governing Board and were reviewed and approved by the staff of each of the reviewing groups. In obtaining approval of the Master Plan, the marina complied with all of the requirements of law and all of the many regulations of all relevant agencies. Public comment was received and considered at almost innumerable public meetings. Many interested persons and organizations also wrote lengthy letters to TRPA respecting the Master Plan, all of which were considered and responded to by LSA. What more would you have the marina do?

There is no approval process at Lake Tahoe that is as rigorous as the marina Master Plan process. Nothing is missed. As reviewed above, the person(s) who supplied you with the “facts” set forth in your editorial were more than mistaken. They were wrong in almost every instance.


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