Palma wants delay on controversial vote |

Palma wants delay on controversial vote

We need more time.

That message is expected today from the executive director of the Tahoe Regional Planing Agency regarding rules that could affect the appearance and size of lakeshore homes.

Since August, staff at the agency have been explaining and changing a rating system it wants to use that calculates how much a home contrasts with the natural landscape of the shoreline. The changes are the fruit of a string of meetings with homeowners, realtors and environmentalists who care about the issue.

“We’re down to some words, we’re down to that level right now,” said Juan Palma, executive director. “I believe we’re OK with the concepts we have on the table.”

Palma said the Governing Board can take action on the issue today, but will request the board to allow more time to work on the proposed scenic quality review system.

If the board decides not to take action, it likely will not resurface until December because staff members working on the proposal won’t be available when the Governing Board meets in November, Palma said.

Chuck Otto, a resident of Incline village and secretary of the Committee for Reasonable Regulation of Lake Tahoe, has been vocal about the system.

Otto said he and others went to the TRPA office in Round Hill on Tuesday to let Palma know they were not satisfied with the package to be offered today to the board.

The committee has four issues that need to be addressed, one being fire danger that might be created by trees left close to homes.

“There is not one word in the proposed ordinance about fire safety,” Otto said. “We think it should be added.”

Another issue important to the committee concerns setbacks, or how far homes are built from the shore of Lake Tahoe.

“There should be guidelines,” Otto said. “To try to have an ordinance where one size fits all (won’t work) because every single lot around the lake topographically is different.”

The proposal before the board today is not supported by the League to Save Lake Tahoe, an environmental watchdog group, either.

“We support deferring the decision,” said Rochelle Nason, executive director at the League. “The TRPA has not developed an environmentally satisfactory proposal. It just falls below the minimum we need to protect scenic quality.”

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or at

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