Synthetic ball field approved by TRPA |

Synthetic ball field approved by TRPA

Toby Lewis

KINGS BEACH – The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency on Wednesday approved plans to build one of three athletic fields off Al Tahoe Boulevard with synthetic grass.

The field and a 156-space parking lot are now on track to be constructed before the fall, according Steve Weiss, South Lake Tahoe parks director.

The athletic fields were promised as part of a $6.5 million recreation bond measure approved by El Dorado County voters in 2000.

The two other fields and restrooms also planned for the site will not be built this year. Whether those fields are constructed using synthetic grass will be determined by the TRPA staff after it assesses how the grass performs on the one field.

The TRPA Governing Board on Wednesday also voted to deny an appeal to subdivide a 12-acre parcel of land in Glenbrook.

The appellants, known collectively as Smittkamp, claimed the TRPA was in violation of a court order issued by a Nevada state court which ordered the land to be subdivided as a result of a settlement agreement.

Members and counsel for the agency stated that approval of the motion to subdivide the land sets a precedent for creating new lots in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

“We don’t think it should happen because then people can go to the state courts (to bypass TRPA rules and regulations),” said John Marshall, counsel to the TRPA.

According to TRPA policy, new subdivision of land is prohibited unless a number of specific exceptions are met. TRPA board members felt that Smittkamp’s request did not satisfy those exceptions.

The appeal came after John Singlaub, executive director for the TRPA, denied a request by Smittkamp to subdivide the property earlier this year.

Mark Amodei, who acted as an attorney for the appellants, claimed the TRPA is bound to overturn the executive director’s denial due to the fact that the state court has jurisdiction in matters dealing with real estate disputes.

“It is undeniable that (federal and state legislation) establishes the TRPA as the supreme planning authority in the Tahoe Basin,” Amodei wrote in the seven-page appeal. Amodei is also a state senator who represents Carson City.

“What (federal and state legislation) does not do, however, is modify the constitution of the state of Nevada regarding jurisdiction and authority of the Judicial branch of government within Nevada,” Amodei continued.

Marshall said that the appellants’ interpretation of the court order was incorrect.

“The way we read it is that there’s nothing in the ruling that says it is in accordance with TRPA regulations,” Marshall said.

Marshall also said that the TRPA is not bound by the court order since the agency was not a party to the proceedings.

According to the TRPA staff summary of the Smittkamp appeal, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that “one is not bound by a judgement … in a litigation in which he is not designated as a party or to which he has not been made a party by service of process.”

– Tribune staff writer Greg Crofton contributed to this report

Amodei said that the TRPA was invited to be a party to the proceedings but subsequently chose not to be involved.

According to Marshall, the matter will now be up for the state courts to decide, should Smittkamp choose to take the TRPA to court.

“We are going to go over the transcripts and move forward from there,” Amodei said.

– Tribune staff writer Greg Crofton contributed to this report

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