Voluminous pier study to be explained at workshop | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Voluminous pier study to be explained at workshop

There is a 3-inch-thick, 500-page-long document explaining how the region’s bistate regulatory agency is planning to change its ordinances controlling development along the shores of Lake Tahoe.

The proposal would allow more piers, buoys and boat ramps.

For residents who don’t want to read through the voluminous report, or who wouldn’t understand most of it anyway, attending a meeting July 27 may be a good idea.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is hosting a workshop on its Shorezone Ordinance Amendments Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

“The purpose primarily is to educate the governing board, the shorezone policy committee and members of the public about what is in the document,” said Jerry Wells, deputy director of TRPA.

From 2 to 6 p.m., TRPA planners will go over the document and discuss its contents. Then at 7 p.m. a professor whose studies have been called a “red flag” for the shorezone planning will give a presentation on his work.

James Oris of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, has done preliminary studies that show a byproduct of boating called PAHs – poly aromatic hydrocarbons – has a toxic effect on aquatic animals. Sunlight enhances the danger of PAHs. In water as clear as that at Tahoe, where sunlight can penetrate deep water, the issue is of even more concern.

Research has shown that piers don’t harm fish-spawning habitat, according to TRPA, and under the agency’s proposal as many as 50 percent more piers could be allowed at Tahoe.

The problem arises because TRPA estimates boat traffic could increase dramatically with a change in the ordinance. More boating could mean more PAHs.

“(The research) is very important because, as I understand it, the studies are pointing to the fact that even with the clean fleet, the cleaner engines – four-strokes and fuel-injected two strokes – there’s still the potential for impacts on aquatic life. He’s analyzing tests specific to Lake Tahoe,” Wells said. “We’re not at a point where we think we need to react immediately. It is preliminary information, but it is an issue we need to pay attention to and study more.”

A Shorezone Partnership Committee met for 1 1/2 years to create the EIS draft. The document came out this spring, and the public-comment period closed earlier this month.

The consensus group is still working, and Wells said after its work is done and the public comments are analyzed, another public-comment period may open. At the earliest, the ordinance amendments could be adopted later this year.


What: TRPA Shorezone Policy Committee meeting

When: July 27, 2 p.m.

Where: North Tahoe Conference Center, 8318 North Lake Blvd., Kings Beach

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