Planning agency shorezone plan hits the streets |

Planning agency shorezone plan hits the streets

Ryan Salm/Sierra Sun

Marina owners looking to expand and lakefront homeowners may face a new set of rules soon, as the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency nears adoption of its first shorezone plan update in 20 years.

The agency’s Britannica-sized volume, which strives to balance environmentalists who want no new piers and property rights groups who seek little or no regulation, was released on Thursday for a 60-day public review.

The plan has already been bombarded with criticisms during its six iterations. Environmental groups and property owner groups have made veiled allusions to legal action over the plan.

Versions of the new plan have called, at one time, for regulation of building public and private piers, a boat ban on Emerald Bay and a buoy removal program.

Thursday’s document would allow up to 230 new piers, 1,800 new buoys, six new boat ramps and 235 new boat slips.

North Tahoe Marina’s plans to build 183 boat slips at their Tahoe Vista location will be governed by the new rules if they are adopted, said TRPA Executive Director John Singlaub.

The planned 183 slips equal more than 75 percent of the 235 public boat slips outlined in the proposed shorezone plan as the maximum number to be permitted around the lake.

“That proposal has a lot of work yet to be done on it,” Singlaub said.

The project will fall under the new rules, since an application has not been submitted on the expansion.

The first phase of the Tahoe City Marina expansion has already been approved, and will not be affected by the shorezone plan, he said.

Lakefront homeowners have followed the process closely from the beginning, and are concerns about the new rules.

Jan Brisco, executive director of the Tahoe Lakefront Owners’ Association, in anticipation of the plan’s release said her group will be working “overtime” with others in the basin to decipher the document.

“When (TRPA executive director) John Singlaub says it’s a ‘very generous’ 60 days for review, that’s not a long time to review a document of this size,” Brisco said. “The ordinance package, that’s what needs to be reviewed. What they’ve done is analysis and come up with ordinances that match the analysis, that’s the classic cart before the horse.”

Michael Donahoe of the Sierra Club, the group’s unofficial Shorezone spokesman, is out of the country this week and the basin’s League to Save Lake Tahoe is withholding comment until a more thorough review is made.

” North Lake Tahoe Bonanza News Editor Andrew Pridgen contributed to this report.

A copy of the plan is available at To hear presentation on the plan attend one of these workshops:

Wednesday, Dec. 13

What: Workshop: Joint Governing Board and Advisory Planning Commission Meeting

Where: Harrah’s, Stateline, NV

When: 9:30 am

Wednesday, Jan. 10

What: Advisory Planning Commission

Where: TRPA Office, Kingsbury Grade, NV

When: 9:30 am

Wednesday, Jan. 31

What: Governing Board Meeting

Where: North Tahoe Conference Center, Kings Beach, CA

When: 9:30 am

Boat slips:

– “Alternative 6A would not allow new private boat slips; however, up to 235 new public boat slips could be permitted.”

New pier construction:

– “With only 10 new private piers allowed each year and the first priority for pier approvals being given to applications that include the greatest length of retired shoreline frontage, the allocation system … would encourage multiple property owners to cooperatively assemble together to maximize their chance for a priority pier approval.”

Response to public concern:

– “Some feel that any new Shorezone structures would degrade the lake… Others feel that every lakefront owner should have the right to construct Shorezone structures, including piers…”


– “As a general rule, buoys placed in the Lake before 1972 will be recognized as pre-existing structures that can be permitted. Among the pre-existing buoys, TRPA-permitted buoys are exempt from new permit fees. All buoys are subject to the annual buoy fee.”


– “There is no scientific basis for prohibiting new piers or other structures.”

Perhaps most telling, both of the frustration, work and sheer willpower that has gone into the final ordinance release can be found buried deep in the executive summary:

– “As the long history of the Shorezone process has proven, the level of controversy surrounding issues in the Shorezone will not be resolved by the passage of time. TRPA and the Tahoe community have been working to address these issues for almost 20 years, and Alternative 6A is the best balance between allowing additional Shorezone structures that enhance recreation opportunities, respecting private property rights, Shorezone preservation, and maintenance of the environmental goals of the Compact.”

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