San Francisco, Calif. November 2, 2016 – The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco today issued a unanimous ruling upholding the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s landmark 2012 Regional Plan to restore Lake Tahoe’s environment and revitalize its communities.
Sierra Club and Friends of the West Shore filed a lawsuit against the Regional Plan shortly after the TRPA Governing Board adopted it in December 2012. U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez found the lawsuit to have no merit and dismissed it entirely in April 2014, prompting the two groups to appeal his ruling to the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments on the appeal were heard in April.
“Today’s ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is yet another strong affirmation of the widely-supported 2012 Regional Plan,” said Joanne S. Marchetta, executive director of TRPA. “The plan is based on sound science, planning, and analysis and represents the best path forward for TRPA and its many partners to restore Lake Tahoe’s treasured environment and revitalize our communities.”
The 2012 Regional Plan is the first comprehensive update to environmental protections at Lake Tahoe since 1987. TRPA adopted the Regional Plan after extensive environmental review and years of public input from more than 5,000 citizens.
“TRPA’s Regional Plan re-galvanized the commitments of California and Nevada to work together to conserve and restore their shared national treasure,” said John Marshall, general counsel for TRPA. “We’re grateful to both states for their strong support and to our many community partners whose engagement has allowed this landmark plan to go forward.”
The Regional Plan retains Lake Tahoe’s caps on development capacity and strengthens environmental protections. The plan offers redevelopment incentives for projects that remove harmful legacy development from environmentally sensitive areas such as marshes, meadows, and stream zones, and incentivizes the restoration of those areas through transfers of development into town centers to create more walkable, bikeable, and sustainable mixed-use communities.
Editor’s note: The ruling can be found here.