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Tahoe Keys Marina looks to expansion

As early as fall, the owners of the Tahoe Keys Marina may get the endorsement from Lake Tahoe regulators that would allow for large-scale, long-term expansion of the South Shore marina.

Fall is the earliest the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency could adopt a Tahoe Keys Marina Master Plan, a blueprint for the area’s future expansion, as well as the accompanying environmental report.

That environmental analysis – a pair of documents equaling 2 inches of thickness – is in draft form now. A public-comment period will be in effect until June 8, and public hearings are scheduled Wednesday at the TRPA Governing Board meeting as well as at the board’s May gathering.



The proposed master plan calls for additions of as many as 150 boat slips, 120 new parking spaces, 2,800 square feet of restaurant expansion and 3,000 square feet more of indoor boat storage. New uses, such as boat rentals and scuba instruction, will be created. And there will be other upgrades, including better landscaping and lighting.

A three-way land swap is also in the works between the marina owners, the Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association and the California Tahoe Conservancy. It would put about four more acres of land in the hands of the Conservancy, and a parking lot would be built that could be used by the marina or people who want to hike on nearby Conservancy land.




For more than three years, a steering committee – with members including the city of South Lake Tahoe, TRPA and the League to Save Lake Tahoe – has been meeting to try to work out details of the expansion.

Coming up with a proposed master plan and the accompanying environmental reports has cost $380,000 so far, according to Dick Horton, co-owner of the marina.

“We would love to get this wrapped up and get this very long process behind us,” Horton said.

The parts of the marina expansion that would lead to more boats using the area are supposed to be undertaken slowly, Horton said.

Officials can use data from last year and this summer as baseline information for the presence of gasoline pollutants in the water. Perhaps 50 boat slips could be added in 2001, and more monitoring would follow before even more slips were added. If standards for water quality are ever exceeded, expansion would stop.

“It may well be we never add all 150 boat slips the (environmental report) calls for,” Horton said.

That “go-slow approach” is a must, according to the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, the agency that regulates water quality on the California side of the basin and a participant in the steering committee meetings.

“We just want to make sure all the projects and mitigation measures are going to be environmentally sound and reduce all the impacts to less than significant levels,” said Mary Fiore, environmental specialist for Lahontan, adding that the still-mysterious PAHs – polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – are especially of concern.

PAHs are large hydrocarbon molecules produced during combustion that are toxic to living creatures. There hasn’t been a lot of research completed on PAHs and whether or not their presence at Tahoe is dangerous to aquatic life.

“There needs to be a pretty rigorous monitoring program in place to monitor for PAHs and other gasoline compounds,” she said.

What: TRPA meeting

When: Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.

Where: Tahoe Seasons Resort, Saddle Mountain Road at Keller

Information: (775) 588-4547


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