Long-awaited Shorezone decision delayed by TRPA
January 21, 2007
The Advisory Planning Commission of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency on Wednesday delayed approval of a comprehensive Shorezone Plan by at least another month.
A “yes” vote by the commission would have paved the way for the governing board to put the long-awaited shorezone plan into action at their Jan. 31 meeting.
Instead, the shorezone proposal will not see another chance at approval by the APC until the commission meets again in February. At least one commission member, Shane Romsos, said March may be a more reasonable month to expect approval by the governing board.
“My understanding is that you’ve made headway, but you’re not all the way there,” Ron McIntyre, commission member, said to John Singlaub, executive director of the TRPA.
Singlaub was eager to proceed with the adoption of a new alternative because the existing shorezone ordinances are outdated.
Fish studies conducted by UC Davis between 1988 and 1995 showed that piers had a “neutral” effect on fish habitat in Lake Tahoe, but the results of these studies are not incorporated into the existing ordinances.
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“We don’t have scientific support for our current ordinances,” Singlaub said.
At the same time, the director of the agency acknowledged the rancor that has surrounded the proposal.
“We know that all are not satisfied,” said Singlaub. But “we still believe that the proposed program of shorezone ordinance amendments finds appropriate middle ground in the debate, while protecting Lake Tahoe.”
Those who aren’t satisfied with the shorezone made their presence known at Wednesday’s meeting.
Representatives of the Recreational Boaters of California, Tahoe Lakefront Owners Association, Tahoe Basin Sierra Club, and several private citizens expressed their opinions about the passage of the shorezone initiative.
Discussion ranged from the spread of Eurasian water milfoil in Lake Tahoe to how TRPA’s environmental thresholds will be met. Some touched recreation costs, but much of the early discussion in the meeting focused on the initiative’s proposed Blue Boating program.
The Blue Boating program’s aim is to reduce pollution from boat engine emissions. Much of the concern voiced by commission members centered around the feasibility of the Blue Boating program’s proposed inspection of boats before they get on the Lake.
“I don’t see that program on a practical level working,” said John Upton, APC member. Jim Lawrence, another commission member, added, “I think enforcement is going to be problematic.”
Bob Hassett, operator of several marinas throughout the basin, also expressed his concern that the buoy fees proposed in the shorezone plan would cost his businesses thousands of dollars per year. These added expenses would ultimately be passed down to his customers.
“We don’t want to slam the door in the faces of our guests to Lake Tahoe,” he said.