TRPA wins Regional Plan lawsuit vs. Sierra Club


By Kathryn Reed

A judge on Monday sided with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in a lawsuit that would have unraveled the bi-state regulatory agency’s Regional Plan that was adopted in December 2012.

In February 2013, the Sierra Club and Friends of the West Shore filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Sacramento to stop the Regional Plan from taking effect in its entirety.

U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez on April 7 said the agency could keep the document in place. In June he had handed TRPA a partial victory by saying the Regional Plan update does not violate California law by allowing local jurisdictions to have more authority. That was one of the items in the lawsuit.

Total maximum daily load, concentrated coverage, soil conservation, best management practices and the ozone threshold were the main issues the two groups have problems with in the latest Regional Plan. In each case the judge sided with the TRPA, saying the agency was adequately addressing the concerns.

No one from the Tahoe Area Sierra Club was available for comment.

“We respect the concerns of our colleagues at the Sierra Club, Friends of West Shore and Earthjustice about the new Regional Plan. It is not a perfect plan, but the League to Save Lake Tahoe also recognizes that it has the potential to help Tahoe’s environment through multiple safeguards that require restoration and environmental improvements with any new development or redevelopment,” Darcie Goodman Collins, executive director of the League, said in a statement.

In the past the League and Sierra Club have been lockstep in challenging the TRPA. Not so in this case.

“It will give investors more confidence and homeowners more confidence,” Jeff Cowen with TRPA told Lake Tahoe News of the judge’s decision.

With the Lake Tahoe Basin being one of the more litigious oriented areas in the country, as well as overregulated, some investors are said to have shied away from doing business here.

TRPA had been operating as though the Regional Plan update was the law of the land because no injunction had been imposed. This is proven by the adoption of two area plans at the lake in the 16 months since the plan was ratifeid. These are planning documents that are now required by TRPA by jurisdictions in the basin to create.


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Comments (15)
  1. Chief Slowroller says - Posted: April 7, 2014

    the Marvelous Makeover marches forward.

    get ready Meyers.

    get ready South Shore.

  2. copper says - Posted: April 7, 2014


  3. Total recall says - Posted: April 7, 2014

    I guess there is nothing illegal about trpa allowing development to relocate adjacent to the lakeshore

  4. reloman says - Posted: April 7, 2014

    Great Job TRPA!!!! Now maybe we can get this town looking better, more investment, more jobs and better for the lake clarity.

  5. tahoe resident says - Posted: April 8, 2014

    Great news! Sierra Club is often irrational in their stances, and very often do not have facts backing the propaganda they sell to the public

  6. Hikerchick says - Posted: April 8, 2014

    My guess is that in 10 or 20 years many people who disparage the Sierra Club will look at Tahoe and wish they had supported the struggle for less development here at the lake.

  7. Cautious and Skeptical says - Posted: April 8, 2014

    Beware and afraid of what you hope for….
    Kings Beach just started a 2+ year construction to reduce the highway, Northstar and Squaw expansions on the horizon, CalNeva and Boulder Bay approved but not going anywhere soon, The Hole in the ground not the glorified Convention Center it was supposed to be, the Horizon revamp- lets see what happens, an Olympic bid in the future, etc., etc. etc. The Regional Plan will be revisited as a requirement in 2016 to see what the Update DID NOT accomplish, so amendments will abound….

  8. J&B says - Posted: April 8, 2014

    It is TRPA that is spewing media propaganda and brushing over the facts. Recall the recent TRPA press release that said lake clarity is improving, yet the facts were it got worse? Take another example – it seems most readers of LTN saw through the LTVA’s public smear campaign on the firework situation to the facts of the matter – but remember that the statements from the LTVA and SLT City Manager did not tell the truth of the matter.

    When Meyers residents and business owners first tried to raise concerns about the Catalyst aka Incentive Program in the new Area Plan to TRPA’s Board in January, TRPA rushed to send out a press release the day before proclaiming how great the Meyers Plan was and how it captured the Meyers vision. Not true.

    It should not be that hard to believe that our powers-that-be have been using public messaging to misrepresent the facts for years. Just ask people in Meyers, Kings Beach, and the South Tahoe Y about facts vs. what they have been told by the agencies since 2012 and before. We can’t afford to trust what they tell us anymore. We need to start looking at what’s in black and white and start demanding true public discussion that is open and honest.

  9. Laura says - Posted: April 8, 2014

    Sometimes i look stupid, but this time I FEEL stupid. The article doesn’t specify what the brouhaha is about, assuming everyone is keeping track of everything going on in this lake environment. How about a few particulars about what THEY want and what THE OTHERS don’t want and what is actually proposed. Then I and others won’t feel so out of it.

  10. tahoe resident says - Posted: April 8, 2014

    hikerchick I don’t think thats true. The new development is so regulated, its built properly, i.e. proper drainage etc etc….. Once we replace all these run down structures that were built in the 60’s and 70’s when there was no area plan or regulations, the lake will be far better off for future generations.

    Off subject but has anyone ever thought of air quality when it comes to lake clarity? Pretty funny we only need to smog our cars once when we register them in el do county, unlike most counties in california where its every year or two years. More cars on the road alone will result in lake clarity going down. Maybe something this simple would help….

  11. reloman says - Posted: April 8, 2014

    Of course the lake clarity went down this year, it would almost have to, but not because of the TRPA not doing its job but rather the TWO HUGE FOREST FIRES at the same time, the end of August. J&B dont you remember the horrible smoke for almost 3 or 4 weeks? This selective memories by both sides is not really fair. But before that it was getting better every year.

  12. BitterClinger says - Posted: April 8, 2014

    Obviously global warming is causing the clarity of the lake to decrease.

  13. J&B says - Posted: April 9, 2014

    Reloman, the cause is irrelevant to the point, which was providing a recent example of how public messages are used to put out misinformation that as you note, isn’t quite right. I used examples I’ve seen LTN readers comment on quite a bit. But feel free to ignore this example as there are many others. The big point is the public needs to start looking at the facts – we can not blindly trust what our agencies tell us.

  14. rock4tahoe says - Posted: April 26, 2014

    I hope the TRPA is correct when they claim “development” or “re-development” will save Lake Tahoe. Unfortunately, that is what developers have been saying since the Washoe Indians were told to leave in the 1850’s.