TRPA scenic rules to be challenged again

An Incline Village group will continue its fight against scenic rules that regulate how homes are built along the shore of Lake Tahoe.

The Committee for the Reasonable Regulation of Lake Tahoe, founded in part by real estate broker Bob Wheeler, sued the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency over scenic ordinances it adopted in November 2002.

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Reed Jr. dismissed the suit last month. His ruling, however, indicated that the committee could challenge the scenic rules again, if it provided more facts to substantiate its case.

The original lawsuit claimed the rules were too complicated, not backed with sufficient environmental analysis, and constitute taking of private property.

The core of the committee's amended lawsuit will be the TRPA's 2001 Threshold Evaluation Report, which indicated a dramatic decline in scenic quality along the shore.

"The judge said the (TRPA) Governing Board received the report and did nothing else at the meeting," said Ron Zumbrun, a Sacramento attorney representing the committee. "We'll be providing further evidence the board took action that can be challenged."

If the judge determines the board took action when it approved the report, it would "open up at least half the issues for our lawsuit," Zumbrun explained.

TRPA attorney John Marshall informed the board last week that he had received legal documents from Zumbrun that indicated the committee's intention to continue to sue the TRPA.

Marshall told the board things were in "kind of a wait-and-see" mode. Zumbrun has until the end this month to amend the lawsuit.


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