TRPA decision on pier questioned |

TRPA decision on pier questioned

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s governing board is fielding criticism for its behavior in the Glenbrook pier debate.

In a Sept. 1 letter to Chairman Larry Sevison, the Glenbrook Preservation Association asked the board to revisit its actions made at the Aug. 23 meeting.

“We were really shocked about how the application for the Glenbrook pier was handled,” said attorney Ron Zumbrun, representing the Preservation Association. “Essentially the public was kept out of the process.

We feel they have violated the spirit of the open-meeting laws.”

The 14-member governing board was scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposal by Glenbrook property owners Larry Ruvo, Harvey Whittemore and Don Carrano to build a private pier about 150 feet from the existing Glenbrook community pier.

Moments before the public comment session, boardmember Terry Giles, a California governor appointee, presented another idea.

“Because I am not so sure there are that many viable options here, and based on conversations that have occurred, I’m about to suggest the only realistically, potentially viable solution to this crisis,” Giles told the board.

Predicting that the board would likely defy staff recommendations and approve the pier project, Giles suggested that the opposing parties negotiate a compromise.

While the board continued with its business, attorneys for the pier proponents and the Glenbrook Homeowners Association, the project’s most vocal enemy, worked a new deal in the back of the meeting room.

The new proposal scrapped the trio’s pier-building dream and replaced it with a plan to build two boat lifts between the high and low water marks from Ruvo’s lakefront property, abutting the community pier. The boat lifts would be accessed by a narrow catwalk connecting to the community pier.

With a new plan, the board continued the item and the public hearing to its October meeting.

The Preservation Association, a nonprofit corporation unaffiliated with the Glenbrook Homeowners Association, has asked the board to return to the original application for public review.

“They stopped the hearing and took two of the interested parties into a back room and had them negotiate,” Zumbrun said. “Other parties weren’t present in those back-room hearings.”

Zumbrun said he was prepared to speak against the pier proposal at the August hearing.

“It makes no sense to build a new pier for the interest of these applicants when it would violate the existing TRPA regulations (of building a private pier next to a community pier),” Zumbrun said. “We felt there would have been very persuasive and compelling testimony in the hearing.”

John Marshall, TRPA’s legal counsel, defended the board’s actions, saying the motivation was to save time.

“A lot of what was going on was a dispute between a couple of private parties,” Marshall said. “What the board was trying to do was mediate that dispute so that they could come to a resolution … if that saves the board’s time and the public’s time, then that’s a good thing.”

The Homeowners Association is scheduled to vote Thursday on the new plan. If it approves, the board will schedule a public hearing for its October meeting, Marshall said.

“We have to see if they can work out their differences,” Marshall said. “If they can’t then we’ll be back where we were or they may come up with something different.”

The board will have to approve any new construction plans that are proposed.

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