Possible settlement in South Tahoe airport tree removals | SierraSun.com

Possible settlement in South Tahoe airport tree removals

STATELINE, Nev. (AP) _ The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is considering requiring the city of South Lake Tahoe to improve erosion control and restore thousands of acres at the airport in lieu of fines for cutting down hundreds of trees.

In a draft settlement developed by the TRPA and city staff, the city would have to permanently remove a 13-by-1,300-foot section of pavement along the runway’s northeastern edge, built on sensitive land identified as a stream environment zone, the Tahoe Daily Tribune reported.

Pervious concrete, which reduces runoff by allowing water to seep into the soil beneath, also would replace a 15,600-square-foot section of pavement next to where the runway will be removed, according to the proposed settlement.

The TRPA’s Governing Board is scheduled to discuss approval of the draft settlement during a meeting Wednesday in Incline Village.

Decreasing the width of the runway and installing the pervious concrete would produce environmental benefits on a particularly important piece of property in the Lake Tahoe Basin, according to the TRPA.

A TRPA staff memo said the measures represent an “unprecedented opportunity to reduce the impact of runoff and, therefore, sedimentation into the Upper Truckee River.”

The Upper Truckee River is the largest source of fine sediment entering Lake

Tahoe.

In January 2006, the TRPA offered a $500,000 settlement to the city in response to the cutting of 387 trees larger than 6 inches in diameter at the airport without a valid TRPA permit.

Under TRPA regulations, a $1.9 million fine could have been issued for the unauthorized tree cut. But the agency lowered the proposed amount, saying it recognized that a penalty against a government entity in most cases is paid from public funds.