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August 30, 2011
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Federal judge dismisses development lawsuit

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit that blocked plans to develop an 18-acre site in Stateline's casino core.

The Sierra Colina project was approved by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in June 2009. The League to Save Lake Tahoe sued to block the development, saying the agency's review was inadequate.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Robert Jones ruled a summary judgment against the league, saying that the TRPA acted appropriately in approving the Sierra Colina permit and that the Agency had properly analyzed all environmental impacts.

"Additionally, the project applicant's continued cooperation with Douglas County would reduce runoff and erosion impacts to the site as well as surrounding areas associated with runoff from lake Village Drive," Jones stated in his order.

Douglas County's TRPA member, County Commissioner Nancy McDermid said the ruling marks a turning point.

"It represents a new era in successful public-private collaboration to bring environmental and community benefits to Lake Tahoe." McDermid said.

TRPA Executive Director Joanne S. Marchetta said the project went well beyond the agency's standards.

"The Sierra Colina project went above and beyond the extremely rigorous environmental standards we have here at Lake Tahoe and exemplifies the public-private partnership model so critical to improving the clarity of the lake as well as the well-being our local community and economy," she said.

Project developers said it is designed to be a single and multi-family home neighborhood using state-of-the-art environmental building techniques, including Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certifications.

Jones said "the project was consistent with restoring, maintaining, and improving the quality of the Lake Tahoe Region for visitors and residents of the region.." and that "it would be built to TRPA design codes and in accordance with the land use regulations set for the project area."

For the last year, the project's developers have been working to install water quality improvement projects on the property as part of their original commitment to the community during the permitting process. The project is located along Highway 50 just north of Kingsbury Grade below Chimney Rock

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The Record Courier Updated Aug 31, 2011 06:32AM Published Aug 30, 2011 08:52PM Copyright 2011 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.