TRPA finds violation at its own building |

TRPA finds violation at its own building

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency found trouble in its own back yard, or at least its future back yard.

The agency wants Jet Construction, a group working to remodel the agency’s home-to-be on Kingsbury Grade come March, to pay $5,000 for illegal digging.

TRPA inspectors found Jet had excavated 12 cubic yards of dirt, 9 more than allowed by the laws set for the basin at this time of year. Moving that much dirt is illegal from October to May, a regulation meant to limit erosion when storms start coming in.

TRPA staff will propose the fine to settle the matter when its Governing Board meets today at the Horizon Casino Resort.

Jet moved the dirt to create footings for 24 columns at 128 Market St., a warehouse being remodeled to house TRPA. It is already home to a print shop, excavation contractor and a cabinetmaker.

“Most of them are cosmetic columns and they could have waited until May,” said Brian Judge, senior environmental specialist at TRPA. “When you added up (the digging), it added up to quite a bit.”

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The only contractors allowed to dig this time of year are those working on projects that involve public health and safety and water quality, Judge said.

The Governing Board today is expected to address three other violations:

n Carl Bucholz, a construction worker who lives off Kingsbury Grade, and a contractor he hired, F & B, are being fined $40,000 for excavation work done in May without TRPA approval. Bucholz told the agency that he hired F & B to fill in his sloped back yard so his children could have a place to play. As part of a deal yet to be approved, Bucholz would pay $10,000 in fines and F & B would pay $30,000. The agreement also requires the fill to be removed from the back yard before June 15.

n Last fall, a 60-inch-wide Jeffrey pine was chopped down before it was inspected by a licensed forester and more than 500 cubic yards of soil were moved after the October grading deadline. The TRPA is asking its board to approve a settlement that would include a $15,000 fine. The actions occurred last fall on Cascade Road. Brig Ebright was in charge of excavation for the project and Ed Cook, a tree surgeon, felled the pine.

n Dean Crouse of Lake Village is being fined $5,000 and as yet unspecified restoration work for cutting down a 12-inch-wide tree near his home. A member of the Lake Village Homeowners’ Association reported the fallen tree to the TRPA. Crouse told the agency that the tree had been marked for removal and said he wanted it gone for fear it might fall on his car.

Jesse Jones, a forester at the TRPA, said the marking was not authorized and that the tree may have been removed to enhance Crouse’s view of Lake Tahoe.

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