Storm brews over rules for shorezone: Motion to delay the debate until summer gains momentum |

Storm brews over rules for shorezone: Motion to delay the debate until summer gains momentum

Amanda Fehd

Tahoe’s planning agency could face large opposition this month on its plan to seek approval before summertime for rules on piers, buoys and motorboats in Lake Tahoe.

Coe Swobe, Governing Board member of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, said he will make a motion at this month’s board meeting to delay or extend public hearings on the shorezone rules until July or August.

Currently, one public hearing is planned for April 26. Swobe submitted a written request with member Jerome Waldie to add the item to the March agenda.

“The more open the process can be, the better the bill we are going to get in the end,” Swobe said. He hopes it will give property owners who only visit during summer more opportunity to voice concerns.

Swobe is a former Republican lawmaker who wrote the original bill to create the TRPA in Nevada. Waldie is a former Democratic congressman and state Assembly member.

The Tahoe Daily Tribune found a majority of TRPA’s 15-member board was open to the idea, if not outright supportive of a delay. However, several members questioned the utility of furthering debate when there have already been two summers of public hearings.

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“I’m not convinced we haven’t heard all of the concerns,” said board member Shelly Aldean.

TRPA Executive Director John Singlaub said there has been ample time for public debate, and now it’s time to move on.

“We want to start implementing these things so there is certainty about what our rules are,” he said.

The public will not see anything new in March, Singlaub said.

“They’ve seen it all before in one alternative or another,” he said.

The TRPA governs development at Lake Tahoe. It is charged with protecting several environmental standards as well as recreation here.

The agency has not finalized shorezone rules for almost 20 years. It is a controversial topic for several groups, including lakefront homeowners, environmentalists, and recreation and business advocates.

In the summers of 2004 and 2005, the agency released environmental reviews of six options for how to regulate development in the shore area.

To view the options, visit

On March 22, the agency plans to release actual proposed rules on how many piers and buoys will be allowed on the lake, and how to regulate motorboats because of pollution concerns.

Singlaub said the agency made a “huge concession” to lakefront owners when they agreed to allow 30 days of review.

El Dorado County Supervisor Norma Santiago expressed concern about adopting rules for the shorezone right before a new regional plan is adopted. The new plan will likely bring with it new standards on air and water quality, recreation, noise and wildlife, among others.

“It just seems a little redundant to go through that policy when the current plan is being changed,” she said.

Should TRPA delay shorezone hearings until summer?

— League to Save Lake Tahoe: favors delay

— Tahoe area Sierra Club: favors delay

— Tahoe Lakefront Owners Association: favors 60-day public review instead of 30 days

— California Assemblyman Tim Leslie: favors delay

— California state Senator Dave Cox: favors delay

— Non-scientific poll at 52 percent favor delay, 47 percent do not. The poll is still available for voting.

Should TRPA delay shorezone hearings until summer?

TRPA Board members:

— Chairman Allen Biaggi, Director of Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources:

“It would be inappropriate for me as chairman to indicate how I would vote prior to the discussion and hearing all sides of it.”

— Coe Swobe, Nevada at large member:

“It’s better to get it done right than in haste.”

— Shelly Aldean, Carson City Supervisor:

“I’m a big advocate for public input as well, but the question is what additional input are we going to receive if we delay yet again adoption of new shorezone amendments.”

— Jim Galloway, Washoe County Commissioner

“I can’t tell how I’ll vote. The shorezone (rules have) been long overdue, so any further delay makes it more overdue. But having more time for people to read it and respond to it would be OK with me.”

— Bruce Kranz, Placer County Supervisor

“I don’t know how I’m going to vote. To follow everything that TPRA does is very difficult, it’s so very technical. I can see how a lot of people still have questions on a lot of things, even though it’s been discussed over and over again. I think we need to make sure nobody is confused.”

— Chuck Ruthe, new governor of Nevada appointee

“I’d like to wait until the people are up there in July or August, so we can hear what the people have to say.”

— Dean Heller, Nevada Secretary of State

“I support them (Swobe and Waldie). When we did the scenic ordinance, we had hearings after hearings after hearings and the upside was that we ended up with a unanimous vote. You can’t have enough hearings on this subject.”

— Mike Weber, South Lake Tahoe City Council

“I’d support having it in the summer unless there’s overhwelming evidence as to why we should not do that. If we’ve been waiting since 1987, what’s another 30 days? I don’t see an extreme downside in getting more input.”

— Jerome Waldie, California Senate Rules Committee apppointee

“The impact of all of our decisions falls most heavily on the property owners in the basin. A lot of those property owners won’t be present before the early months of the summer. It’s sensible for the agency to accomodate as many members of the public as possible.”

— Julie Motamedi, governor of California appointee:

“I’m kind of mixed about it. We have so many summertime residents that have an opinion about this, that in all fairness that would be the best thing to do.”

— Mara Bresnick, California Assembly Speaker appointee

“I’m certainly open to listening to any motion or discussion of shorezone. I’d have to wait and see after all the information is presented.”

— Steven Merrill, governor of California appointee

“I think we ought to try to stay on a plan to reach a decision and not delay it beyond what’s currently scheduled. It’s hurting our efforts on other important issues.”

— Norma Santiago, El Dorado County Supervisor

“I’m in favor of it because with a June date, there will be more participation.”

— Stuart Yount, presidential appointee: does not have a vote on the board, and has recused himself from shorezone debate.

— Tim Smith, Douglas County Commissioner: unable to reach for comment

— Board member contact information is available at