TRPA wants $50 per cut tree to fund program

Tahoe Basin planners are looking to charge a $50 application fee to people asking to remove a tree on the California side of the lake.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency says it needs the money so it can hire a forester and alleviate the long waiting list for tree inspections that exists for property owners in California.

For more than a year, TRPA forester Jesse Jones has been conducting all inspections, in addition to his normal workload. The fee would not apply to a tree that fire officials at the basin say must be removed because it presents a hazard.

Inspections on the Nevada side of the lake will continue to be conducted without an application fee by the Nevada Department of Forestry. In 2001, the California Department of Forestry discontinued its inspections at the basin because state funding had ended.

The application fee will be voted on Wednesday when the Governing Board of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency meets. The board is expected to vote on the release of the basin's 248 allocations of development for this building season. Ten percent of the allocations each year are reserved for property owners in the basin who are denied the right to build on land because it is deemed too sensitive.

The owners have the option to transfer the allocation to less-sensitive property and build, sell the allocations, or do nothing. In the latter option, the allocation is returned to a general pool.

This year, South Lake Tahoe is slated to receive 41 allocations. Four of them would be held over for people who have been denied building rights because their land is too sensitive.

Planners this year used a new system to determine how many allocations each jurisdiction -- four counties and South Lake Tahoe -- will receive. Last year, the agency released 300 allocations, and about 225 were used.

The system is designed to link the amount of development to environmental protection work. A report card issued by the TRPA in December 2001 warned that not enough work is being done to protect Tahoe, which is losing more of its clarity.

The system awards additional allocations for each jurisdiction that shows an increase in transportation funding, submission of environmental-improvement program project lists to create programs to get more erosion controls installed on private property, and for permit compliance.


What: Governing Board of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency

Where: Horizon Casino Resort

When: Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.


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