Incline Village man fined for construction violation at Tahoe

INCLINE VILLAGE -- The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency approved a tentative settlement this week for $220,000 with businessman Tom Gonzales in a federal suit involving his unauthorized manmade reef.

The L-shaped breakwater measures 40 feet by 80 feet and is made up of boulders from the adjacent shoreline.

The settlement, slated for approval on Wednesday by TRPA's Governing Board, requires that Gonzales pay $220,000, dismantle the breakwater, and restore its site. The payment includes a $145,000 fine and $75,000 for an environmental education fund.

TRPA also considered applications from Gonzales to rebuild a nearby rock crib pier, boat-lift reconfigurations on the pier and a home addition. The pier applications address deviations TRPA says it found during a site inspection this month.

TRPA discovered the breakwater in May and filed suit two months later when a June deadline for providing a dismantling plan was missed. It filed for injunctive relief in the matter Oct. 18, after negotiations with Gonzales broke down.

TRPA general counsel John Marshall said previously that the suit and its substantial fine were necessary to ensure effective enforcement of the agency's regulations.

In justifying the large monetary payment, the settlement cites a $240,000 payment in 1998 to resolve unauthorized shore zone disturbances and a $200,000 payment last year to resolve unauthorized tree removals and slope alterations in Incline Village.


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