Court upholds Lake Tahoe regional plan

A federal court ruled in favor of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), affirming an update to the Lake Tahoe Regional Plan that took years to craft, according to the Agency.

The lawsuit was filed by the Sierra Club and Friends of the West Shore in February 2013 following nearly a decade of public input to update the plan originally adopted in 1987.

“This encouraging decision could not have come at a more critical time for Lake Tahoe,” TRPA Executive Director Joanne Marchetta said. “The pace of environmental restoration will accelerate under the new plan with more opportunities for healthy, sustainable communities.”

The decision by U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez was based on the facts in the record used by the TRPA Governing Board to make its decision on the plan in December 2012. The court upheld the Agency’s discretion to make policy decisions based on sound science and a complete record.

Following the Regional Plan’s adoption, state and local leaders hailed the milestone as the next environmental leap forward for Tahoe. The Plan also won three separate awards for environmental innovation from professional planning and architecture organizations in 2013.

Innovative aspects of the plan include:

•Using cutting-edge transfer of development rights policies to shrink the development footprint around Lake Tahoe thus reducing automobile reliance and increasing the feasibility of walking, biking and transit use.
•Providing incentives for the protection or restoration of additional environmentally sensitive lands and continuing landmark growth management policies.
•Including greenhouse gas reduction and other air quality programs designed to eliminate 10,000 vehicle miles traveled in the Region annually.

The Judge’s decision is here.


The following is a statement by Darcie Goodman Collins, PhD, executive director, League to Save Lake Tahoe, regarding today’s decision by U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez upholding Tahoe’s new regional plan.

“We’re glad the case has concluded. This means Tahoe’s communities can move forward with certainty about their regulatory environment over the coming decades. We respect the concerns of our colleagues at the Sierra Club, Friends of West Shore and Earthjustice about the new regional plan. It is not a perfect plan, but the League to Save Lake Tahoe also recognizes that it has the potential to help Tahoe’s environment through multiple safeguards that require restoration and environmental improvements with any new development or redevelopment.

“Since its passage, the League has continued to aggressively watchdog the implementation of the regional plan, ensuring that specific ordinances are enacted to protect Tahoe’s environment and restore Tahoe’s clarity, and ensuring that each jurisdiction creates responsible area plans with adequate environmental policies.”

—League to Save Lake Tahoe

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