TRPA fines building site $10,000
A construction company is facing a $10,000 fine over alleged violations to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s strict winter construction site standards.
The agency said that Greenwood Homes failed to park its crane on pavement or set up its West Shore construction site to capture sediment before it ran into Lake Tahoe.
This fine, which was approved by the bi-state planning agency’s governing board at their meeting Wednesday, joins just a small handful of other temporary Best Management Practice violations on construction sites that the agency has charged hefty penalties, said Dennis Oliver, agency spokesman.
“The reason that it doesn’t happen very often,” Oliver said, “is our objective is to first try to get the permit holder to comply and protect the lake – keep the project moving.”
The agency makes routine inspections on construction sites, and often gives out verbal or written warnings for code violations, as well as cease and desist orders. Under the vast majority of circumstances, the agency and the contractors work together to correctly implement proper Best Management Practices.
But this construction site, located at 3005 West Lake Blvd., continuously made mistakes, Oliver said.
“Our inspector returned to that site on several occasions,” Oliver said. “And each time found something else out of whack.”
Kevin Hanna, president of Greenwood Homes, declined to comment Thursday.
While the agency acknowledged that Greenwood Homes was cooperative and attempted to install the proper erosion control measures, Oliver said they failed to keep up with the maintenance.
“They were trying to cooperate,” he said. “But it just wasn’t happening.”
After six separate visits, the inspector returned for the final time on Oct. 29 – two weeks after the summer grading season closed – only to find a crane parked in a muddy area. To make room for the crane, erosion protection was taken down, Oliver said.
“Implementing temporary (Best Management Practices) on the sites is very important in the overall effort to protect the lake,” Oliver said. “It is our first line of defense against any discharge of fine sediment that might enter the lake.”
According to planning agency documentation, Greenwood Homes agreed to pay the original settlement, which was set at $8,000, but the agency’s legal committee decided Wednesday to increase the fine by $2,000. The agency can lawfully fine up to $5,000 per day per violation.
Winterization standards require that all vehicles must be parked on paved surfaces and all building materials stored on pavement. The requirements are in effect from Oct. 15 through May 1.
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