Stateline, Nevada – At its Wednesday, Oct. 24 meeting, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) Governing Board approved two major initiatives: A new Shoreline Plan for Lake Tahoe and a comprehensive package of changes to the agency’s development rights system. Both of the initiatives were approved after several years of collaboration with a wide range of planning partners and will take effect January 2019.

“These landmark decisions show collaboration is alive and well at Tahoe and leading to real progress,” said Joanne S. Marchetta, executive director at TRPA. “The new Shoreline Plan will improve recreation access and experiences on the lake, as well as the environment along the shoreline. These needed changes to the development rights system will make it easier for the private sector to invest in projects that benefit Tahoe’s environment, communities, and housing options.”


The Shoreline Plan was developed through a collaborative process that included TRPA, Lake Tahoe Marina Association, Tahoe Lakefront Owners’ Association, League to Save Lake Tahoe, Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, Nevada Division of State Lands, and California State Lands Commission.

The plan sets development caps and regulations for new shoreline structures such as piers, buoys, and public boat ramps and creates a framework for marinas to enhance their facilities if they incorporate environmental improvements into the project.

The Shoreline Plan also creates new programs to ensure shoreline structures and boating activity do not harm the environment, scenery, or recreation experiences at lake Tahoe. The cost of these programs will be paid for through new fees fairly apportioned to various shoreline users and structures, including mooring registration fees, an increase in boat sticker fees, and boat rental concession fees that will take effect before the 2019 boating season.

New shoreline programs will include stronger boater education and enforcement of the 600-foot no-wake zone at Lake Tahoe, expansion of the no-wake zone to all Emerald Bay, and new no-wake zone buffers around swimmers, paddlers, and shoreline structures at Tahoe to prevent unsafe boating near the shoreline where motor boats, paddlers, and swimmers interact.

Other programs provide coordinated enforcement against illegal boat moorings on the lake; more projects to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic invasive species; enhanced monitoring for noise and scenic impacts from boating activity and shoreline structures; and provisions to keep boats with aftermarket exhaust systems that exceed TRPA, California, and Nevada noise limits from operating on the lake.

People are encouraged to visit to learn more about the plan and new programs, permitting processes and phases, and fees. At the website, people can read a Shoreline Implementation Program Report that details how the Shoreline Plan will take effect in coming months and sign up for email newsletters about upcoming implementation actions.


Upgrading Lake Tahoe’s built structures is critical to improving the region’s environmental health and the vitality of its communities. The unique development rights system at Lake Tahoe was put in place decades ago to manage growth in the Tahoe Region. Development rights are land use rights required for projects to be built at Tahoe. They include tourist accommodation units, commercial floor area, and residential units of use.

Changes approved today will allow conversions between the different types of development rights using environmentally-neutral exchange rates. This ability to convert will provide more flexibility and simplicity while also maintaining the overall cap on development potential in the Tahoe Basin.

Other changes make it simpler to transfer development rights around the Tahoe Basin and expand the income eligibility for residential bonus units. These bonus units can now be used for affordable, moderate, and achievable housing, a change intended to help provide greater housing options for low-income residents up to the “missing middle,” people who earn above the area median income but cannot afford the median home price.

“The 2012 Regional Plan was a paradigm shift for Tahoe, recognizing the need for greater private investment to meet environmental goals,” said Jen Self, senior long-range planner at TRPA. “With redevelopment we see numerous environmental improvements, such as the installation of stormwater systems to protect lake clarity, scenic upgrades, and more energy efficient buildings. These changes are all about making the development rights system more flexible to encourage this type of redevelopment while also maintaining our environmental protections.”

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency leads the cooperative effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region, while improving local communities, and people’s interactions with our irreplaceable environment. For additional information, contact Tom Lotshaw, Public Information Officer, at (775) 589-5278.