My Turn: Should there be a limit to development? | SierraSun.com

My Turn: Should there be a limit to development?

Tim Delaney
Special to the Sun

LAKE TAHOE and#8212;-My frustration with TRPAand#8217;s approval of the increase in the height code amendment for the Boulder Bay project prompted me to call the projectand#8217;s TRPA planner, David Landry.

His answer was that he cannot tell a developer that he could not build. Essentially there is no limit to how many folks can be squeezed onto private land since now they change existing code restrictions to accommodate each new project. Apparently, there is no limit to development in the Tahoe Basin.

A nationwide discussion needs to occur to decide the ecological limit of the Tahoe Basin and surrounding desert regions that depend on Lake Tahoe for water. The public has a right to control the use of the Tahoe Basin as a water resource. The public also has a right to demand that hard limits be set on the California side and Nevada side in terms of resident and visitor numbers to the Tahoe Basin region. Currently, Lake Tahoe has 3 million visitors per year. Is that enough?

The purpose should be to establish a development limit that protects the watershed from the damaging impacts of unrestricted development which adds capacity and strains the physical limits of our roadways, like those in Crystal Bay. As residents we cannot tolerate Boulder Bay because it is the first of a series of large-scale developments planned by TRPA in the Tahoe Basin under the guise of supposed environmental improvements that will restore clarity. Thatand#8217;s a nice concept, but with no hard limits on numbers of human occupants, the foundations of their arguments are false.

Humans need water. No limit to humans means no limit to water consumption. Before TRPA can continue, those limits must be published and openly discussed and determined by real scientists or voted on by the general public in order to fully define the fixed capacity of the Tahoe Basin and Reno/Carson communities. It involves the Indian Tribes as well. The Truckee River Operating Agreement is the first step in this process. Under that agreement Nevada is allowed 14,000 acre feet per year and California 22,000 acre feet per year. Incline uses 3,500 to 4,200 per year depending on whether they get a charge for snow making. Currently they receive a credit since they claim the snow melts and eventually flows into the lake. A typical 3 bedroom home uses 1/2 acre ft. or 400 gal/mo. In reality, the Nevada side is currently over-allocated. In other words more than the allowed 14,000 acre feet is reserved.

There is an ecological threshold. And until that boundary is defined and explained and understood, Boulder Bay cannot be allowed to proceed.

The general public has a right to know the ecological limits of the area. The general public has a right to decide the fixed limits and how close those limits will be to ecological collapse.

Itand#8217;s time to have the real discussion that everyone has been avoiding.

and#8212; Tim Delaney has a bachelor of science in engineering physics with a minor in math and computer science. He is a retired aerospace/defense engineer. He has lived in Tahoe since 1969. He has been a resident of Incline Village since 1974.