Judge rejects Tahoe shorezone regulations
September 16, 2010
A federal court judge’s ruling today sends the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency back to the drawing board to update shorezone regulations which cover piers, buoys, and structures on Lake Tahoe.
Conservation groups filed a lawsuit in federal court in November 2008 to force an environmental review of the regulations.
The suit, filed by the League to Save Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Club, alleges the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency adopted new land-use regulations without thorough consideration of environmental and public access impacts.
“We struggled for 22 years to find middle ground on the polarizing shorezone issue and we’re disappointed to be back where we started,” said Executive Director Joanne S. Marchetta. “We worked diligently to implement new protections for Lake Tahoe and we hope to continue some elements of the shorezone policy such as our Blue Boating Program.”
It is unclear what the implications are for this aggressive clean boating program, according to agency attorney Nicole Rinke. Agency staff is reviewing the decision to determine the its next steps.
After a 22-year debate of how best to manage development in Lake Tahoe’s shorezone, the TRPA adopted new policies and ordinances in October 2008. These shorezone regulations set development caps on new buoys and piers and established mitigation measures, making the new rules more protective than previous ordinances. The intent was to better manage the already existing 768 piers and approximately 4,500 buoys on the lake today while capping future additional development.
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“As is always the case at Lake Tahoe, achieving a balance between our spectacular environment and private property rights is extraordinarily challenging,” Marchetta said.