Tahoe planners consider ban on pier building

It will be deja vu this Wednesday for Lake Tahoe planners as they consider a ban on pier building in a large portion of Glenbrook Bay.

An advisory board to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency will hear the proposed pier prohibition today, 11 months after the same issue gained approval from its planning commission at the end of a heated, three-hour hearing.

In May 1999, Glenbrook property owner Robert Daiss proposed banning the construction of new piers on the bay's half-mile beach area, where only one community pier now exists.

Daiss was concerned because a pier was being proposed near his property. Powerful casino industry lobbyist Harvey Whittemore and wealthy liquor distributor Larry Ruvo had the pending TRPA application to which Daiss was objecting.

Lending unofficial support to Daiss, the Glenbrook Homeowners' Association expressed concern that as many as 15 more piers could be built along the sandy beach if the Whittemore-Ruvo plan went through.

Several months of discussion followed the TRPA Advisory Planning Commission meeting. Daiss worked out an agreement with the Whittemore and Ruvo, where the pair agreed to pull their application to build near the property in question and Daiss halted his pursuit of the ban.

TRPA's governing board never considered the prohibition.

Now the homeowners' association is proposing a ban.

Because the existing pier can be used by any property owner in Glenbrook, regardless of membership in the homeowners' association, no new ones are allowed there under TRPA rules. However, a comprehensive overhaul is under way regarding TRPA regulations in shore-zone areas, which may allow significantly more piers around Lake Tahoe in the future.

The purpose of the new proposal is make sure pier-building in Glenbrook is prohibited regardless of what shore-area laws may soon change.

"The homeowners want to make it real clear in the Plan Area Statement their desire to have no new piers in Glenbrook," said Gary Midkiff, consultant for the homeowners' association.

TRPA staffers agree with the association's desire to ban piers along the beach area, because they would clutter the scenic beauty of the bay. However, the Glenbrook property owners want the ban to extend a few parcels beyond the beach, but TRPA says it can't justify including those non-beach pieces of land.

The chunk of land in question includes property owned by Ruvo and Edward Fein.

Fein - who owns two properties there, neither of which are in the homeowners' association jurisdiction - objects to their inclusion in the pier ban.

Whittemore's and Ruvo's pier proposals had been met with controversy prior to the TRPA incident last year. During the 1999 Nevada Legislature, Whittemore had an amendment slipped into a Senate bill that would have helped his pier project.

The ''Piergate'' bill, as it was dubbed, was gutted in the Assembly after clearing the Senate with the controversial provisions intact - an action that resulted in criticism of Sen. Mark James, R-Las Vegas, who helped pilot the measure through his Judiciary Committee.

What: TRPA advisory commission meeting

When: 9:30 a.m. today

Where: North Tahoe Conference Center, 8318 North Lake Blvd., Kings Beach

Information: (775) 588-4547


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