Rules being devised for Tahoe’s shore line

By Kathryn Reed

Bringing harmony to divergent interests involving the shore line of Lake Tahoe is the goal. Time will tell if the next document will have the same outcome as the last – being shelved because of litigation.

Competing parties have been working on a bi-state plan for more than year. The 26 meetings amounted to hundreds of hours of negotiations.

Now the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is figuring out what exactly will be analyzed in the environmental impact study. On July 26, the bi-state agency’s Governing Board got a brief overview of what is being recommended.

The last time the TRPA board approved a shoreline plan was in 2008. Legal action ended its viability. It’s taken until now to come up with another attempt. The 1987 Regional Plan is what governs the shore zone today.

The latest plan calls for 10 new public piers and 128 private piers. They will have to be spread out to meet scenic regulations. The goal is to have people share the private piers. This number will mean some lakefront property owners will not have a private dock. To do so would have meant allowing about 700 new piers.

Another 1,430 buoys would be granted.

Today there are about 760 piers and 4,000 buoys on Lake Tahoe.

One of the eight speakers at Wednesday’s meeting in Kings Beach said it would be great if the illegal buoys were removed before any new ones were permitted.

Much consideration was given to drought conditions. Moveable docks will be preferred. This will allow them to be used in all conditions instead of standing over dry land as was the case for a few years until this past winter.

Being able to move a buoy to deeper water will also be permissible.

The environmental analysis will study water quality, scenic resources, the recreation experience, noise, air quality, soil conservation, vegetation and fisheries. Alternatives will also be studied.

There was talk of how to eliminate the conflict between users because motorized watercraft have a habit of violating the 600-foot rule – as in, they are supposed to be that far from shore. Education and enforcement were talked about, as well as the need to clearly define who should be doing what.

The 2008 plan didn’t even consider recreation.

This 2017 plan covers: boating/lake access structures, marinas, motorized boating, non-motorized boating, streamlined permitting, low lake level adaptation, green infrastructure, enforcement, tolerance districts and permissible uses, concessions operations, dredging, and environmental improvement.

The EIS should be released in the winter.



·      The TRPA Advisory Planning Commission will discuss the scoping document on Aug. 9 at 9:30am at the agency’s Stateline office.

·      The comment period ends at 5pm, Aug. 16. Send comments to [email protected]

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    Comments (1)
    1. Cautious and Skeptical says - Posted: July 27, 2017

      Thanks for reporting on this item. Chasing the lake level to accommodate pier and buoy users as well as considering more public education on paddleboarders/kayakers versus boat/jetski users essential. Providing scientific evidence backed by technical studies A MUST in the EIS.