TRPA boats checkout shoreline homes |

TRPA boats checkout shoreline homes

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

A Tahoe Regional Planning Agency boat sloshed in waters off Round Hill Pines on Thursday next to a large lakefront home screened by pine trees.

The house is contributing to the decline of scenic quality at Lake Tahoe Basin despite the screening provided by the trees because it’s painted with white trim, said John Hitchcock, senior planner at the TRPA.

Hitchcock said the house was approved with the condition that the property owners paint the trim using light brown.

But that never happened.

That type of scenic issue and others created by structures within 300 feet of the lake will be discussed when the TRPA Advisory Planning Commission meets Wednesday.

Hitchcock later pointed out two small houses, one painted all white and not screened by any trees or plants, and a house next to it painted brown.

The brown house was about the same size as the white one, but is much less visible because of its earthtone paint and screening provided by several pines.

“The issue is not beauty, but ‘how does the structure contrast with the natural landscape?'” Hitchcock said. “A smaller house can have a bigger impact than a larger house.”

Waters offshore the Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center were the last stop of the boat trip. Hitchcock said the center’s lakeshore buildings are examples of how structures can blend with natural landscape. They are set back off a bluff, painted dark brown, with the “hard edges” screened by pines.

The agency, however, recognizes landscape around the lake varies, Hitchcock said.

In some places, screening the “hard edges” of a home with vegetation may not be realistic. The agency is willing to work with property owners to come up with a solution, Hitchcock said.

In the future, the agency plans to grapple with scenic issues created by structures built between the shore of the lake and the ridgeline of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

“We want to make sure structures don’t exceed the tree canopy and flow with the ridgeline,” Hitchcock said. “Those are some of the techniques that reduce contrast and impact.”

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

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