Commissioners shun Tahoe Donner marina project

Margaret Moran
Each summer, people crowd the Beach Club Marina, a private amenity within the Tahoe Donner Association.
Courtesy Tahoe Donner |

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Officials have denied a proposal to renovate the Tahoe Donner-owned Beach Club Marina on the east end of Donner Lake.

The Truckee Planning Commission voted 4-0 Tuesday against an updated version of the project.

“I think it’s hard for a tiger to change its stripes, and I don’t really feel like the proposal that was given back to us in April has really changed much,” said Commissioner Greg Buchheister.

Changes to the original proposal include felling 12 Jeffrey pine trees — six of which are classified as hazardous, dead or dying — instead of 20; adding a 3-foot artificial turf staging area for kayaks and paddleboards; and reducing the size of the patio to better accommodate a staging area, among others.

Despite updates, commissioners raised several concerns, many of which echoed the same ones they raised during an April 16 public hearing.

They questioned the proposed installation of 10-foot-tall light poles, considering the facility generally operates during daylight hours, and how the lights may impact marina neighbors and other lake residents.

Commissioners also were concerned about the amount of disturbance associated with planned new walkways and rockery walls. Concerns over the number of trees to be felled and potential renovation impacts on retained trees also were raised.

“I’m a little concerned (about) public comment seeming to paint somehow Tahoe Donner as this large beast that’s destroying the environment,” said Robb Etnyre, general manager of Tahoe Donner. “I think the reality is quite the contrary.”

Tahoe Donner over the last three years has acquired more than 1,000 acres for conservation purposes, Etnyre added. In 2011, its homeowner’s association planted more than 5,500 trees on its property and more than 2,800 in 2012.

While commissioners commended Tahoe Donner’s conservation efforts, they also raised safety concerns around the marina’s boat launch area and a potential increase in traffic at the facility.

“A lot of these improvements I don’t really feel that they improve the entire facility as what it’s zoned for, which is a marina,” Buchheister said. “I feel they improved the facility for events and that sort of recreation.”

Appeals to the commission’s decision will be accepted until 5 p.m., Friday, Aug. 30. To file one, contact Jenna Endres, town of Truckee associate planner, at 530-582-2922 or

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