TRPA imposes hiatus on buoy, piers and boat ramp applications
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency has imposed a 90-day operational hiatus on applications relating to buoys, piers and boat ramps less than a week after a federal judge ordered the bi-state agency to reconsider its rules regarding the structures.
“The hiatus will allow staff to sort out the legal and operational implications of the court ruling,” said TRPA Spokeswoman Julie Regan.
During 90-day hiatus – enacted at Wednesday’s governing board meeting at the North Tahoe Events Center – lakefront property owners cannot file applications to bring existing buoys into conformance with the agency’s ordinances that were updated in October 2008.
Last week U.S. District Court Senior Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled in favor of the League to Save Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Sierra Club’s challenge to the shorezone amendments, which would have allowed 1,862 new mooring buoys and the construction of 128 private piers, 10 public piers, six new boat ramps and 235 boat slips on Lake Tahoe.
The conservation groups filed a lawsuit challenging the amendments in November 2008, a month after the governing board approved amendments.
In the 66-page ruling, Karlton said several provisions in the approved amendments were “arbitrary and capricious.” The judge also said TRPA failed to provide enough detail as to how the new shorezone program would help the agency attain environmental goals, also know as thresholds.
Governing board member Mara Bresnick said the direction board gave to staff, following six hours of closed session deliberation on Wednesday, has two components.
“The internal staff will begin evaluating the ramifications of the court ruling on operations,” she said. “The other component is the legal side, where the legal committee and the legal team will consider the legal options available to the agency.”
Those options include an appeal of Karlton’s order, or a motion to amend or clarify the order, Bresnick said. TRPA will have 30 days from Sept. 16 – the date the ruling was issued – to file an appeal, according to Jill Rozier with TRPA’s legal team.
Tahoe Lakefront Owners Association Executive Director Jan Brisco – who represents homeowners attempting to place mooring buoys in the lake near their properties – said the hiatus is unsurprising.
“The TRPA has given themselves a cushion of time sufficient for analyzing all the available options,” Brisco said. “As one of the largest stakeholders in this matter, we will be there every step of the way and offer any help we can.”