Defining the legacy we leave in Tahoe | SierraSun.com

Defining the legacy we leave in Tahoe

Jamie Bate

Something’s been gnawing at me since the whole Tahoe City Marina parking garage back-and-forth was, well, bouncing back-and-forth.

Here we have one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. We have an extraordinary bi-state agency created by presidential decree to protect that beautiful lake.

Love it or love to hate it, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency “cooperatively leads the effort to preserve, restore and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe region now and in the future.”

OK, got it, sort of. Since I’m not the end-all-be-all repository of all things TRPA, I may miss the mark on this one, but here goes.

Back in the latter part of 2004, the TRPA floated the notion of taking Caltrans to court over a guardrail installed at the very edge of the Basin up on Brockway Summit. That’s because Caltrans put in shiny, acid-etched guardrail instead of rustrail, which is brown in color and, I assume, more to the TRPA’s definition of what it means to “enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe region.”

Plodding along during this time is the Placer County Redevelopment Agency’s plan for the Tahoe City Marina parking structure. The garage ” about as close to the lake as it could get ” was planned as a three-story concrete mass in between the Tahoe City Marina Mall, O’Neal Brokers and Wolfdale’s restaurant.

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The garage plan was no secret to anyone. Parking is, depending on whom one talks to, an issue in Tahoe City. Placer County, area merchants, the marina and, I have to assume, TRPA officials at one point or another touched bases on this pretty significant, lakeside behemoth.

The garage plan was subsequently scuttled by Placer County because of, surprise, tepid support. The marina, with the blessing of the TRPA, will add additional parking spaces in the area instead.

While the garage plan hadn’t officially landed on the laps of TRPA board members for the ultimate yeah or nay, it boggles my mind that a three-story, concrete bunker was even pondered for the shore of Lake Tahoe. But then I guess it all boils down to how one defines the enhancement of the “unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe region.”

If we must enhance the Tahoe City “human environment” with a garage, perhaps getting it off the lakeshore and over to 64 Acres is a better option.

When the TRPA quibbles over the color of a guardrails in the Tahoe Basin, the mere thought of erecting a multi-story parking structure on top of the lake should have been a non-starter.

If we’re talking about preserving, restoring and enhancing the Tahoe Basin, our legacy ought not to be enshrined in three-story concrete parking garages.