Tahoe environment board expands buoy regulations

Annie Flanzraich
Sierra Sun

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. and#8212; Lake Tahoe buoy permit applicants wiall have one year to complete erosion control measures after receiving a conditional permit for an existing buoy from Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

The agencyand#8217;s governing board voted unanimously to adopt the new rule at its Thursday meeting. Erosion control measures, known as best management practices, or BMPs, are part of the agencyand#8217;s efforts to maintain Lake Tahoe water clarity.

and#8220;This gives people who do not have their BMPs in place some time to get the work done and come into compliance,and#8221; said agency Spokesman Dennis Oliver.

The new regulation will encourage more lakefront property owners to apply for buoy permits and help the agency identify illegal buoys, officials said.

and#8220;We need to get the buoys registered and permitted,and#8221; Oliver said. and#8220;From there you can find the more egregiously-out-of-compliance buoys. But if you canand#8217;t tell the buoys a part, you canand#8217;t tell which ones are illegal and which are not.and#8221;

Registered buoys will have a sticker to identify them, Oliver said.

Previously agency code required buoy applicants to complete their Best Management Practices before they would issue a permit for an existing buoy. However, because many lakefront property owners do not have their upland BMPs installed, accord to staff reports, they are not applying for permits.

The new process creates a conditional approval permit that would give the property owner up to one year to comply with the following conditions:

and#8226; The applicantand#8217;s signed acceptance of all conditions.

and#8226; The applicant must submit a BMP Certificate of Completion for the upland parcel within one year.

and#8226; The applicantand#8217;s agreement to comply with Tahoe Regional Planning Agency design and location standards for buoys within one year.

and#8226; The applicantand#8217;s agreement to tag the buoy(s).

and#8226; The applicantand#8217;s agreement to allow removal of their buoy(s) in the event they fail to comply with all conditions of approval.

and#8226; Payment of required fees (application filing fee of $500.00 per buoy, a biennial double payment of $175.00 for each private mooring, and a one-time $500.00 fee for the second and all subsequent private buoys).

A final inspection of the conditionally-permitted buoy will take place within one year after the permit was issued. If the conditions have not been met, agency will be able to revoke the permit and remove the buoy.

However, the Tahoe Lake Front Homeownerand#8217;s Association was concerned with property ownerand#8217;s appeal rights after agreeing to the above terms a to get a conditional permit.

and#8220;We want to be able to work with each issue on a case by case basis,and#8221; said Tahoe Lakefront Ownersand#8217; Association Executive Director Jan Brisco.

The governing board and agencyand#8217;s legal counsel Nicole Rinke said they would be able to work with applicants.

and#8220;It is not our intent to go out there and be arbitrary,and#8221; Oliver said.

The League to Save Lake Tahoe was concerned with issuing homeowners a permit before the BMPs were completed.

and#8220;Our concern was that with these new rules TRPA is losing a condition that would create an incentive for compliance with BMPs,and#8221; said Nicole Gergans, a program advocate for the League. and#8220;If a homeowner receives a permit and they donand#8217;t have their BMPs they may continue to neglect their BMPs.and#8221;

To address this concern the governing board made the permit a conditional permit.

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