TRPA wants to limit number of events at Horizon |

TRPA wants to limit number of events at Horizon

Michael Schneider

The Horizon Casino Resort wants to attract more business, hosting about 15 outdoor events this summer.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency has regulations to restrict outdoor events. The agency reasons the fewer public events held in Tahoe the better for the environment.

The conflicting viewpoints pit business interests against TRPA regulations.

Horizon officials said Wednesday there are several independent businesses at the resort, and each one is entitled under TRPA rules to host four events without seeking special agency permits.

Horizon General Manager Ron McKenzie, however, received a letter dated March 11 informing him the business was “not in compliance” during 1997.

The planning agency regulates such things as chili cookoffs, craft fairs and automobile shows.

Associate Environmental Specialist Douglas Smith wrote the TRPA “considers each weekend event … as one occurrence of a temporary activity.”

Smith reminded McKenzie the Horizon faces a $5,000 per day fine if it does not adhere to the TRPA regulations. He also said the resort should allow “several months” to allow the agency to review any request for a special permit to hold a fifth outdoor event in the Tahoe Basin.

Smith said it “doesn’t matter who owns” a business, “just where it is.”

A March agency “correction notice” from Smith said the Horizon had held more than four weekend events in 1997 without prior authorization or approval from the agency. He said the TRPA probably would not try to punish the Horizon for last year’s events.

TRPA has a second dispute with Horizon officials over parking garage facilities and control of storm runoff. “Stormwater is our highest priority,” Smith said.

He added he spoke with Horizon representatives after issuing his correction notice March 11 and found they had an acceptable schedule for completion of the work.

McKenzie said the hotel will wait until the stormwater project is complete to begin work on landscaping and removing of asphalt on the eastern portion of the property because the parking lot will have to be torn up to complete the stormwater project.

McKenzie said the stormwater improvements project should be complete by 1999.

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