LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) — A popular Lake Tahoe Marina is under fire for plowing over state land to build a parking lot without a permit or permission.
The California Tahoe Conservancy land next to the Tahoe Keys Marina may take months to restore back to a protected area for wildlife.
“The bottom line is all the permits were not properly in place to do this work,” said Julie Regan with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
She says sometime last week, the marina decided to grade over a quarter-acre plot to build a parking lot for overflow parking for a weekend event.
“That whole entire Tahoe Keys area used to be a wetland, a very significant wetland,” she said. “We have a lot of regulations for a very good reason.”
Victoria Ortiz with the California Tahoe Conservancy that owns the land says the marina went ahead with its plans without a permit and against their word, even knocking down the fence around it.
“We made it very clear that this area was not available for this parking,” she said. “We take it very seriously when these trespasses and encroachments occur on our land.”
She says not only is the animal and plant life threatened, so is the lake.
“Any time there’s exposed soil, that always creates the opportunity for that sediment to travel into the lake which threatens lake clarity,” she said.
Marina officials say the whole thing is a misunderstanding. They say they had been in talks about building a new parking lot with the state, but the two had been talking about separate locations.
Meanwhile, the marina has agreed to take the appropriate steps to fix its mistake.
“We have to make sure that everybody is aware of the rules, everybody is really clear and that we all do the right thing for the lake,” Regan said.
The agency says restoration is possible, and it is asking the marina to take those steps and foot the bill, which could cost thousands of dollars on top of possible fines and penalties.