California agencies weigh in on Shorezone program
January 31, 2007
California Lt. Governor John Garamendi expressed concern this week over the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s proposed Shorezone program, adding his voice to a number of state agencies that have criticized the plan.
Garamendi, who wrote a letter dated Jan. 29 on behalf of the California State Lands Commission, said new structures along Tahoe’s shores will block recreation and public access.
“These piers will interfere with the public’s right to walk the shores of Lake Tahoe,” wrote Garamendi, who sits on the California State Lands Commission. “… I do not believe that these potential impacts have been adequately analyzed and that mitigation measures to address them have been sufficiently defined.”
A number of concerns have been expressed regarding the proposal, which would allow up to 230 new piers and 1,862 new buoys on Lake Tahoe. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Governing Board is expected to vote on the proposal Feb. 28. If approved, the shorezone program would be adopted for a term of 22 years.
The agency released more information on its proposed “Blue Boating” program and mitigation implementation for the lake Wednesday during a public hearing.
But state agencies from the Environmental Protection Agency, the attorney general and the State Resources Agency have problems with the proposal.
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Christine Sproul, deputy attorney general for the California Attorney General’s office, told the board that another 60-day public review process should be considered so “everyone can review a complete package.”
Chief of California State Lands Commission Barbara Dugal expressed concern over the agency’s proposed mitigation.
A letter from the California Resources Agency and the California Environmental Protection Agency stated the agencies felt the plan did not meet the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act and “does not adequately address the need to protect and improve public access, non-motorized recreation and public trust values in the Lake Tahoe shorezone.”
TRPA board member Steve Merrill said he wanted to avoid lawsuits over the Shorezone proposal and suggested implementing the program for just two years and then revisiting it.
Joanne Marchetta, the agency’s attorney, said the plan can be adopted for a set, short period of time, but that a different budget structure would have to be considered.
Board member Jerry Waldie said he agreed with the League to Save Lake Tahoe that mitigation proposals should be adopted before the proposal is approved.
“No one is satisfied,” said John Singlaub, TRPA’s executive director. “There are strong for and against feelings. We’re trying to find the best way possible to do the right thing for the lake.”
The TRPA’s Advisory Planning Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposal at its Feb. 14 meeting at 9:30 a.m. at the North Tahoe Conference Center in Kings Beach.