Until report is complete, TRPA will allow grace period for buoys | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Until report is complete, TRPA will allow grace period for buoys

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

A shorezone environmental report due early next year should let people with permitted buoys know whether their permits will remain valid.

A new buoy identification program at the TRPA requires every buoy on the lake have a TRPA identification tag. About half of the 6,600 buoys on the lake have either a Tahoe Regional Planning Agency permit, a permit issued by the California or Nevada land management agencies or one issued by the Army Corps of Engineers.

A Shorezone Environmental Impact Statement, expected to be released in January, will state how buoys permitted by agencies other than the TRPA will be dealt with. It is also expected to set a ceiling for how many buoys overall will be allowed on the lake.

Until then, owners with permits from agencies other than the TRPA will be allowed a grace period, said Brent Richmond, shorezone associate environmentalist at the TRPA.

“We have two ways we can go: one is a letter of recognition saying you have a right to the buoy, the other is they would have to submit a (TRPA) application,” Richmond said. “We haven’t made that decision yet. Once the environmental impact statement is done, that will tell us what the rules are to play by.”

There are more than 3,000 buoys without a TRPA permit on Lake Tahoe. Staff at the agency expects its identification program will take three to six years to complete. Starting June 1, staff will start its program by identifying unpermitted buoys floating off public lands.

The TRPA has received dozens of calls from concerned residents since it announced the start of its new buoy program.

Alan Scott, regional manager at California State Lands Commission, an agency that has issued hundreds of buoy permits, said he has met and discussed the issues with TRPA staff.

“Because we are trying to be cooperative with TRPA, we have been inserting into lease documents language that requires our tenants to be in compliance with TRPA regulations once they are adopted,” he said.

Scott would not speculate what the environmental report might recommend. The lease agreements, which last 10 years, allow two years to comply with TRPA regulations.

A TRPA buoy permit application costs $1,097 for staff officer review, the most common review level for new buoys, and $1,421 if the application goes before the TRPA Governing Board.

A single application can provide permits for up to two buoys off residential land or may cover an entire buoy field, if the applicant is a homeowners association, said Jill Keller, TRPA spokeswoman.

Numbers are still being crunched to figure out the amount of a fee that will support the TRPA buoy program. Staff is considering a fee between $30 and $100 a year, Richmond said.

Permitted buoys will be color-coded and include a cable-locking device that can be tracked with a global positioning system.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or at gcrofton@tahoedailytribune.com

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