Tuesday marks the end of the grading and digging season at Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is sending an early reminder that permitted projects can only continue past that date if a special exception has been issued by the Agency.
The exceptions are generally granted for reasons of public health and safety, emergencies or threats to the Lake’s water quality
While smaller digging and grading projects, like fence post installation, do not require a TRPA permit or a special exception after Oct. 15, grading or soil disturbance for projects under a TRPA permit needs a grading season exception, according to TRPA.
This year TRPA has opened an online application process from its new website to streamline the issuance of grading season exceptions and to make rapid updates in the case of changing weather.
Approvals and instant updates on precipitation will be sent electronically to project managers in the field.
Customers can get more information and apply for an exception at www.trpa.org/permitting/inspections-securities/.
Why does Tahoe have a Grading Season?
Grading — the moving or shoveling dirt — is not allowed between Oct. 15 and May 1 at Lake Tahoe because most of Lake Tahoe’s precipitation falls during this period, according to meteorological records. All construction sites must be winterized and active projects must have paved access in order to continue above-foundation construction through the winter.
TRPA Public Information Officer Jeff Cowen said grading guidelines are in place to prevent precipitation from washing loose soil and muddy flows into the Lake, affecting water quality.
“Lake Tahoe’s famed clarity is at stake and we have a commitment to improving customer service,” Cowen said. “The new online process is paperless, fast and allows us to safely manage grading exceptions across a broad area more rapidly than ever.”
Digging and grading projects that are smaller than 3 cubic yards in size do not need a grading season exception unless the activity is part of a permit.
Exempt grading activities can be completed as long as conditions are dry and it is not part of a larger project that would require a permit.
For additional information, call Cowen at (775) 589-5278 or email him at email@example.com.