4 Dec 2007, 1:29pm
Latest Forest News
by admin

TRPA loosens oversight of tree cutting

Agency tries to make it easier to create defensible space

from the Tahoe Daily News [here]

Annie Flanzraich, North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, Nov 29, 2007

KINGS BEACH - Despite some dissent from local fire chiefs, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board changed its ordinances Wednesday to allow property owners to remove trees that are 14 inches or less in diameter without a permit.

Under the new code, property owners can cut those trees without a permit, unless they are in a shoreline area. A TRPA permit is required to remove trees with a diameter greater than 6 inches on the area between the structure and the shore.

Board members said the ordinance change was part of TRPA’s effort to encourage Tahoe homeowners to create more defensible space around homes and structures for fire safety.

However, many fire chiefs had hoped the shoreline provision would be struck from the ordinance.

“One thing that has been very evident is that fire doesn’t know boundaries,” South Lake Tahoe Fire Chief Lorenzo Gigliotti said on behalf of other basin fire chiefs. “It doesn’t pay respect to shorezones, it doesn’t pay respect to scenic boundaries - fire knows no bounds.”

Still, board members argued that it was necessary for some compromise to be reached between protecting scenic resources and defensible space.

“That’s a compromise, and that’s as far of a compromise as I want to go,” said TRPA board member Bruce Kranz. “We need to do something; we need to get this out to the public to let them know we’re serious.”

In September, Lake Tahoe fire chiefs presented a nine-point plan to the TRPA with specific rules they said needed to be changed to make the basin safer.

One of the points in the letter addressed giving homeowners more control over removing trees that could pose a fire danger on their property.

That nine-point plan resulted in talks between the TRPA and the fire districts, and eventually this ordinance change.

The ordinance passed with an 12-1 vote, with TRPA board member Steven Merrill voting against it.

“This is one of the cases where there is tension between fire safety and scenic standards,” Merrill said.

4 Dec 2007, 1:37pm
by Mike


This just kills me. These wackos watched 254 homes incinerate this summer, from a canopy fire that started in the Angora watershed which had received a minimalist thinning and no fuel disposal.

Now they are going to loosen the Rules, and allow trees up to 14 inches be cut. That’s peckerwood! Moreover, the job should be to restore open, park-like, fire-safe forests, not bean-count breast height diameters.

Hire a real forester for change, TRPA!!!! Use some of the money you got from Slick Willy and Dirty Harry.

And scenery issues????? How does the Angora Burn look to you, Steve? What are your artistic sensibilities telling you? Catch a clue, man!!!!

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