Federal judges strikes down proposed Lake Tahoe shorezone amendments | TheUnion.com

Federal judges strikes down proposed Lake Tahoe shorezone amendments

LAKE TAHOE, Calif.-Nev. – A federal court judge has ruled in favor of two Lake Tahoe conservation groups, sending the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency back to the drawing board to update shorezone regulations which cover piers, buoys, and structures on Lake Tahoe.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton of Sacramento, Calif., ruled Thursday the bistate regulatory agency did not go far enough to make sure the environmental quality of the lake would be protected.

“We struggled for 22 years to find middle ground on the polarizing shorezone issue and we’re disappointed to be back where we started,” said Joanne Marchetta, TRPA executive director, in a press release. “We worked diligently to implement new protections for Lake Tahoe and we hope to continue some elements of the shorezone policy such as our Blue Boating Program.”

It is unclear what the implications are for this aggressive clean boating program, said Nicole Rinke, TRPA’s general counsel, in the press release. TRPA is reviewing the decision to determine the Agency’s next steps.

After a 22-year debate of how best to manage development in Lake Tahoe’s shorezone, TRPA adopted new policies and ordinances in October 2008. The regulations set development caps on new buoys and piers and established mitigation measures, making the new rules more protective than previous ordinances, according to TRPA.

“The intent was to better manage the already existing 768 piers and approximately 4,500 buoys on the lake today while capping future additional development,” the press release reads.

In November 2008, the Tahoe Area Sierra Club Group and League to Save Lake Tahoe filed suit in federal court challenging the legality of the shorezone ordinance amendments.

In December 2008, the Tahoe Lakefront Owners Association – a private property rights advocacy group – also filed suit challenging the amendments and signaled they would seek an injunction to prevent their implementation.

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