L a k e T a h o e
Lake Tahoe Basin is located 15 miles south of Truckee, California, 200+
miles northeast of San Francisco, California and 36 miles southwest of Reno,
Nevada/California border bisects the lake and the City of South Lake Tahoe, in a
north-south direction. South Lake
Tahoe is heavily developed with major hotel-casinos on the Nevada side of the
border. There are numerous general commercial, tourist oriented, and
residential developments surrounding the large hotel-casino developments.
Lake Tahoe covers
approximately 190 square miles. It is over 30 miles long, 12 miles wide, and has a maximum altitude, set by
law, of 6,229'.
lake perimeter is ringed with small residential communities which include
tourist oriented facilities such as hotels, motels, restaurants, service
stations, stores, etc. Gaming
casinos and big name entertainment are prominent at Nevada's south shore area
and to a lesser extent in the north shore area of the Lake Tahoe Basin, three
miles west of Incline Village. The
California side of the lake has a large number of motels, with the heaviest
in the communities of South Lake Tahoe, Kings Beach, Tahoe Vista, and Tahoe
U.S. Forest Service owns and/or controls 65% of the land in the Tahoe Basin. The Forest Service is actively acquiring additional
ownerships for the preservation of the environment of the Tahoe Basin at this
time. Private owners control 15% of
developable land in the Basin, while the remaining 20% is in county and state
throughout the Tahoe Basin has been strongly restricted with a long term
moratorium (August, 1983 to July, 1987) effectively halting most development
throughout the entire Lake Tahoe area. This
moratorium first created an artificial "shortage" of buildable sites,
then when lifted, an "oversupply".
The market is currently in a re-adjustment phase following the
establishment of thorough TRPA regulations covering most types of developments
in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Even
with the lifting of the total building moratorium, land development in the
area is, at best, time consuming and extremely costly.
The regional body, which must approve construction and development, is
the TRPA (Tahoe Regional Planning Agency).
This organization has control of all development in the area relating
specifically to uses allowed and the amount of land coverage by structural or
other man-made improvements to be allowed on individual sites.
Additionally, approval must be granted by jurisdiction of the county in
which a proposed development is planned.
Even with the lifting of the total building moratorium, land development in the area is, at best, time consuming and extremely costly. The regional body, which must approve construction and development, is the TRPA (Tahoe Regional Planning Agency). This organization has control of all development in the area relating specifically to uses allowed and the amount of land coverage by structural or other man-made improvements to be allowed on individual sites. Additionally, approval must be granted by jurisdiction of the county in which a proposed development is planned.
estimated year-round population of the Lake Tahoe Basin is approximately
30,000 permanent residents with peaks exceeding 100,000 individuals during
to and around the Lake Tahoe Basin is good and, for the most part, open to
traffic all year. Inclement
weather and heavy snowfall sometimes restricts access to the area during winter
months. However, major thoroughfares throughout the Basin are rarely
closed to through traffic as adequate snow removal programs provide
around-the-clock highway maintenance. The
entire 78-mile perimeter of the lake has asphalt paved state and federal
highways. Major highways leading
out of the Basin include California State Routes 89 and 267 which connect Tahoe
City and Kings Beach, respectively, with Interstate 80 at Truckee.
U.S. Highway 50 connects Carson City, Nevada with Placerville, California
via a 15+ mile section of this highway along the lake's east and
southeast shoreline. Nevada State
Route 431 (the Mt. Rose Highway) connects U.S. 395 just south of Reno with
into the Lake Tahoe Basin is primarily by automobile.
There is limited bus and air transportation and two airports serve
the Basin, one at South Lake Tahoe and the other outside the Basin in nearby
Lake Tahoe Basin has an attractive conifer forest cover and is surrounded by
mountain ranges with peaks exceeding 10,000' in elevation creating an excellent
environment for hiking, camping, skiing, and other lake/forest activities.
The Basin has beach and boat facilities for summer recreation with
boating, water skiing, swimming, and fishing popular recreational activities.
During winter months, tourists come to ski at many ski areas. The Lake Tahoe Basin provides the highest concentration of
ski lifts in the world, with 140+ lifts.
disposal and water availability are major problems in the Basin.
Septic tanks are not allowed and hookups to local sewer facilities are
necessary for any development. Available
municipal water is becoming quite limited and all building permits are
subject to the availability of adequate utilities to service a planned
individual county planning agencies have jurisdiction in the Lake Tahoe area
and work in conjunction with the TRPA (Tahoe Regional Planning Agency) to maintain the fragile ecological
balance in the Lake Tahoe Basin which has been subjected to degradation
through commercial/residential development in the area.
With an eight-year drought having just ended, concerns for Lake Tahoe
environment are especially high at this time.
undeveloped land in the Lake Tahoe Basin is zoned General Forest, which allows
only one single family development per ownership, irrespective of site size.
Because of these restrictions, existing developments and developable
land are at a premium throughout the area with prime commercial and residential
properties having been highly sought after for years.
The existing stringent regulations governing proposed developments
throughout the area have made existing improved sites more desirable as the
potential for the development of vacant land in the future is questionable.
At best, new construction requires
a detailed application/approval process which is time consuming and often
state and county restraints are designed to protect the environment.
The TRPA is intentionally reducing the allowable ground coverage of
properties whenever possible to reduce the density of potential developments
throughout the Basin.
Recent legislation, as well as the restraints on new construction and the recent drought, have created a general atmosphere of uncertainty for new construction in the basin with a concurrent high demand for good quality existing developments and easily developable sites meeting TRPA and county regulations.