Revamp of pier regulations vexes TRPA board
California and Nevada are seemingly split over whether pier expansion/replacement projects should continue to be approved by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, in light of revised shore zone regulations expected in February.
“I’m worried,” said Tom Quinn, of the TRPA Governing Board who represents California. “Every month we approve more piers”
Quinn, appointed by former Gov. Gray Davis, said there is no pier policy for the board to rely on while it waits for the environmental impact report on Lake Tahoe’s shore zone, which has been in the works for about 13 years.
“I’ve been trying to deal with this for a year and a half … staff hasn’t come forward with anything,” he said. “What do we do in the meantime? What if next year we have to tear down 50 piers?”
Board member Reed Holderman, appointed by California Legislature’s Speaker of the House Herb Wesson, agreed with Quinn, saying he felt like he was “flying blind” when asked to vote on permits for pier projects.
“One idea I had is to go forward with projects now, but direct staff on any future pier projects if there is uncertainty on the part of the board,” Holderman said. “There are 41 miles of private ownership on the shoreline. Does that mean we’ll have 41 miles of pier?”
The proposed expansion of a pier at a home at Skyland, off of Highway 50 between Zephyr Cove and Cave Rock, sparked a fiery debate Wednesday at a meeting of the TRPA Governing Board. Requests for visual simulations of what a North Shore pier will look like after it’s rebuilt stalled that project, now slated to be voted on in January.
Jim Galloway, who represents Washoe County on the board, countered comments from the members of the California delegation, saying TRPA has rules that should be adhered to until the shore zone report comes out.
“The floodgates are not wide open for new piers,” Galloway said. “There is frustration we don’t have the shore zone EIS, but until we do, we follow the rules.”
Shelly Aldean, a Carson City TRPA board appointee; Wayne Perock, a board member who works for the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; and Larry Sevison, a Placer County, Calif., appointee to the board, agreed.
“There is no reason for an applicant to incur additional expenses when they have followed all the rules,” Aldean said.
“I understand that there are a number of people on this board who really don’t like piers and buoys,” Sevison said. “But we’re not being fair.”
Aldean ended the debate, saying it was too “rancorous.” The hearing on the permit was postponed until December.
The board requested that the applicant’s consultant provide a visual simulation that includes the proposed pier to the hearing in December.