Federal judge rejects challenge to South Lake Tahoe general plan
January 19, 2012
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the League to Save Lake Tahoe against South Lake Tahoe challenging the city’s adoption of its general plan.
Judge Garland E. Burrell dismissed the lawsuit which argued the adoption of the city’s general plan update harmed the leagues’ members and the environment, would cause exponential development on the South Shore and was in violation of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Compact, because the city did not submit the plan for review.
Burrell shot down the League’s arguments stating, “The League fails to demonstrate that it is ‘likely,’ as opposed to merely ‘speculative,’ that [an alleged] injury will be caused by adoption of the plan.
In his ruling, the judge ruled that the league:
• “neither has suffered nor will suffer an injury in fact,
• “the general plan update by itself does not implement development,”
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• “no development projects have been implemented to date pursuant to the GPU,” and
• “the city has not contemplated any development projects which conflict with the 1987 Regional Plan.”
Burrell’s decision supports the authority of local government to develop a community vision, plan, and ideas for the future. The decision supported the city’s contention that adoption of its general plan does not require review by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and does not cause, create, or harm the environment.
South Lake Tahoe Mayor Claire Fortier expressed support for the decision in stating.
“The basis of democracy has always been that people can plan their future and the City of South Lake Tahoe and its citizens did so by adopting one of the greenest and most environmentally sustainable General Plans in the state of California. We are grateful that the court has allowed the city to move forward without interference toward our goal of rebuilding green to keep Tahoe blue.”
The Court found that the record supported the City’s contention that, the TRPA Compact, the General Plan Update, and the accompanying EIR “make abundantly clear” (emphasis added) that “no projects which violate 1987 Regional Plan or eventual Regional Plan Update can or will be implemented in the future.”
“The League has failed to demonstrate that it is reasonably probable that [the City’s failure to submit the General Plan Update to TRPA for approval] will threaten the League’s and its members’ concrete interests,” Burrell concluded.