Tahoe Pier Project Put On Hold

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No new applications for pier projects will be accepted at Lake Tahoe until early next year, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency board decided.

The nine-month hold was imposed Thursday after agency staff said the time is needed to develop new shoreline construction regulations.

A property rights group criticized the action, saying it unfairly restricts lakefront property owners who want to build or expand a pier.

"It is a moratorium," said Jan Brisco, executive director of the Tahoe Lakefront Owners' Association. "They will miss a key opportunity to bring nonconforming structures into conformance and to encourage people to redevelop their shorezone structures in a way that benefits the environment."

The move is not a ban but a postponement of the agency's acceptance of new applications for pier projects, said TRPA spokeswoman Julie Regan.

"The word `moratorium' is certainly a sensational word," Regan told the Tahoe Daily Tribune. "It means a ban and this is not a ban.

"This will allow us to engage in sound planning to make good decisions so people are treated as fairly as possible, and ensure that staff has adequate time to put into the shorezone (environmental impact statement)," she said.

A compromise crafted by TRPA Executive Director John Singlaub allows 11 or so pier applications already filed to be voted on by the board in August.

Applicants also have the option to be first in line to have their projects reviewed under the new shorezone rules, which could be more restrictive but are not expected to outlaw pier construction.

"This compromise, we feel, supports the executive director and his commitment to get the shorezone report out the door," Brisco said. "But it's a tough pill to swallow."

Kevin Agan, an Incline Village-based shorezone consultant, said the decision will affect 30 to 40 pier or buoy projects that involve his business.

He said he was not confident the TRPA would come up with new rules for shorezone development in nine months because of what he called its history of missing deadlines.

TRPA started crafting new rules for shorezone construction about 14 years ago.