Tahoe planning agency approves Ski Run cell tower application

Laney Griffo

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The proposed cell tower on Ski Run Boulevard overcame another hurdle last week after a Tahoe Regional Planning Agency hearings officer gave final approval to the application.

The application for the 112-foot tower, by Verizon Wireless, was approved by the city of South Lake Tahoe in June 2019.

The tower, which is slated to go onto the property at 1360 Ski Run Boulevard has been hotly contested by several in the community, including resident Monica Eisenstecken, who lives adjacent to the property.

She filed an appeal with the City Council, citing unknown health concerns, loss of property value and degradation of Tahoe’s natural beauty. In January 2020, the council denied her appeal.

Opponents were again given the opportunity to voice their concerns with the tower during the Thursday, Oct. 14, hearings officer meeting. The application was heard by Marsha Burch, who said the facility was allowed as a special use permit.

While public comment mostly centered around the three concerns Eisenstecken has raised, legal representatives for the opposition also argued that Verizon’s special use permit has expired since they didn’t make any movement on to the project within the year.

Despite the arguments, TRPA approved the application. Opposition has until Nov. 4 to file an appeal with the governing board.

Eisenstecken has been fighting the cell tower in federal court, as well. Eisenstecken, as well as, Tahoe Stewards, LLC, Tahoe for Safer Tech, and the Environmental Health Trust have asked the court to put a halt on the development of new cell towers and wireless antennas and facilities.

TRPA has filed a motion to dismiss the case but a trial date has not been set yet.

Eisenstecken was originally being represented by Attorney Mark Pollock but he died on June 16, 2021 and a motion was filed on Sept. 21 to have his name removed from the case file.

The case is now being represented by Gregg Lien and Robert Berg.

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