There is a new plan for Tahoe! On December 12, 2012, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) Governing Board passed a new Lake Tahoe Regional Plan for the Tahoe Basin. The TRPA has been working on a new regional plan for years; since its inception in 1987, the TRPA has been the lead planning agency in Lake Tahoe. The new Lake Tahoe Regional Plan achieves environmental standards while allowing smart and orderly growth in the Tahoe Basin.
Updates to the new Regional Plan include:
- Accelerating water quality restoration and other ecological benefits by supporting environmental redevelopment opportunities and Environmental Improvement Program investments.
- Integrating regional and local regulations into coordinated area plans. Area plans that demonstrate environmental improvement will be allowed to increase building height and density in town centers.
- Simplifying and streamlining the permit review process to encourage updates to older buildings.
- Encouraging walkable, bike-able communities.
There are new, more flexible regulations for homeowners as well in the new Regional Plan. Some of the new, improved regulations for Lake Tahoe homeowners include:
- Incentives, including land coverage credits and exemptions, will be offered to homeowners who use pourous paving materials for decks and driveways.
- Coverage will be regulated on a neighborhood-wide scale, as opposed to the old plan’s parcel-by-parcel scale. Aggregating coverage will be easier for homeowners, and will benefit environmental restoration.
- The TRPA permitting process is simplified and streamlined for homeowners who want to build or remodel their homes.
- Land coverage exemptions are provided for small decks, and small temporary structures like sheds and doghouses.
- Land coverage transfer limitations are reformed so that property owners can purchase coverage for home modifications at a reasonable price.
- Best Management Practices (BMPs) can be completed on an area-wide scale, as opposed to a parcel-to-parcel scale. Property owners may be able to complete their BMPs at the area-wide level.
Ultimately, what happens on the land affects the waters of Lake Tahoe. The new Lake Tahoe Regional Plan allows for smart growth, more flexibility for property owners, and also an improving environmental future for the entire Lake Tahoe Basin.
Following last week’s post regarding the recent “Fire Fee” received by many Lake Tahoe home owners, we in turn received numerous questions seeking further information. Assuming that for every person that came forward with a question, there were probably many more of you that have questions but didn’t bother to speak up. With that in mind, we thought it could be helpful to post some of the more frequently asked questions within a Q & A put forth by Hayley Williams, the South Tahoe Association of REALTORS® Governmental Affairs Director. Enjoy the read and please don’t hesitate to contact us if there is anything further we can do for you at this time.
Q. What is the Fire Fee?
On July 7, 2011 the State Responsibility Area Fire (SRA) Prevention Benefit Fee (“Fire Fee”) was signed into law. The Legislature has said that the fee is for fire prevention, not for fighting fires. The fee will help prevent fires by allowing more brush clearing and forest health management.
Q. Who does the Fee apply to?
The fire fee applies to anyone living in a State Responsibility Area (SRA), which are rural areas in the state that are not federally owned.
Q. What is the State Responsibility Area?
The State Responsibility Area (SRA) is the area of the state where the State of California is financially responsible for the prevention and suppression of wildfires. SRA does not include lands within city boundaries or in federal ownership. Click the following link to see if a parcel is within the SRA enter in the parcel address in the State Responsibility Area Viewer.
Q. How much is the Fire Fee?
The fee is levied at the rate of $150 per habitable structure, which is defined as a building that can be occupied for residential use. Owners of habitable structures who are also within the boundaries of a local fire protection agency will receive a reduction of $35 per habitable structure. It is unclear whether the fee will remain at $150, or will increase or decrease in coming years. The current billing cycle is the only one for which the $150 fee is established, the fee is allowed to be changed after this billing cycle.
The fee is charged per Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN):
* Owners of condominiums pay $150 per unit.
* Owners of multi-family dwellings (including apartment buildings) pay only $150 for the entire complex. Thus, the owner of a duplex pays one $150 fee whether it’s two cabins on one lot or two units in one building.
* Owners of a vacant parcel, however, are not assessed a fee.
Q. Is the Fire Fee assessed in arrears (in the past)?
Yes. Since the fee was signed into law in 2011, homeowners can and will be billed for the 2011-2012 fiscal year (July 1-June 30). CAL FIRE is mandated to annually transmit to the Board of Equalization (BOE) a list of the appropriate name and address of each person who is responsible for the SRA Fire Prevention Fee and the amount of the fee to be assessed.
The major implementation dates for the SRA Fire Prevention Fee are:
* BOE Begins Sending Fiscal Year 11/12 Bills to Homeowners: August 2012
* BOE Begins Sending Fiscal Year 12/13 Bills to Homeowners: March 2013 (est)
Q. Who is challenging the Fire Fee?
Many people are unhappy about the fire fee. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has stated that they will file suit against the fee, now that the first round of fire fee bills have gone out. The Association is claiming that the fee is unconstitutional because it is actually a tax, and will file suit on this ground. On August 21, 2012, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors sent an official letter to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association saying that the County Board “adamantly opposes” the fire fee, and that the County Board pledges any type of support the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association needs in filing a lawsuit against the fee. The County Board also said it will be filing a friend of the court brief against the fire fee when the suit is initiated. On August 20, 2012 the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors also sent an official letter to the Board of Equalization asking the BOE to halt the fire fee. The County Board stated that the fire fee is unfair, has been sprung too quickly on the residents of El Dorado County, and is inaccurate. The County Board told the BOE that the County Board would be pursuing legal options to stop the fire fee.
Q. Does a homeowner have to pay the Fire Fee?
YES. Homeowners MUST pay the fire fee, even if they are attempting to appeal their fee or even if a lawsuit later determines that the fee is unconstitutional (in which case the court would probably issue a refund to all homeowners who paid the fee). Not paying the fee can also result in a lien on a property. The lien will follow the person, so even if a person does not own the property anymore, he/she must pay the fee or face a lien on any currently owned property.
Q. How long do homeowners have to pay the Fee after receiving it?
The fee payment deadline is a very small window– homeowners have 30 fays to pay the fee after receiving the bill.
Q. Is there a penalty for paying the Fee late?
Yes. Late penalties up to 20% of the fee may be assessed if the payment is late. Not paying the fee can result in a lien on the property, and penalties. The lien will follow the person, so even if a person does not own the property anymore, he/she must pay the fee or face a lien.
Q. Where should a homeowner send the Fire Fee Payment?
Fees should be sent to (if homeowners do not want to appeal or challenge the fee):
Board of Equalization
P.O. Box 942879
Sacramento, CA 94279.
Q. Is there a way to appeal the Fee?
Yes. If homeowners want to appeal the fee, they must submit with their fire fee payment a Petition for Redetermination.
Fees with petitions for redetermination should be sent to:
Board of Equalization
P.O. Box 942879
Sacramento, CA 94279.
AND a copy of the petition for redetermination with a copy of the fee check should be sent to:
Fire Prevention Petitions
P.O. Box 2254
Suisun City, CA 94585.
Q. Is not owning the home anymore a defense for not having to pay the Fire Fee?
NO. If the homeowner owned the home at any point during the fiscal year for which the Fire Fee is assessed, the homeowner must pay the fee.
Q. What are the defenses available for not having to pay the Fire Fee?
The listed defenses are:
* The habitable structures on the property are not located in the SRA
* The property was charged for more habitable structures than actually exist on the property
* The property did not receive a $35 exemption per habitable structure, but the $35 exemption should apply because the property is located within the boundaries of a local fire protection agency
Q. Are Title Companies involved in the Fire Fee?
No, since this is a fee and not a tax, it is not a Title Company’s Responsibility to monitor the Fire Fee.
Q. What is the California Association of REALTORS® doing about the Fire Fee?
C.A.R.’s Board of Directors has directed C.A.R. to support legislation which repeals the fire fee. Legislation was introduced this year, AB 1506 (Jeffries), which would have repealed the fee and C.A.R. did come out in support. This measure, however, failed to pass out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee due to the budgetary hole the absence of these funds would cause. The legislature has adjourned for the year so a new bill would not be possible until next session.
Q. Where can I find more information?
More information is available online. Additionally, local fire districts and local politicians have information and statements about the Fire Fee.
Those of you that know us also know that Don and I truly enjoy the game of golf. Don because, quite frankly, he is pretty good at it. Me, because I find the personal challenge within tranquil settings a magical experience. And besides, the courses in and around Lake Tahoe are simply hard to beat as far as beauty goes. So, when a good friend of ours sent us the following viral email, I felt so proud to be involved with a game where industry leaders often shine in their generosity. We hope you enjoy the following story – even if you don’t play golf:
PING GOLF CLUBS
Even if you’re not a golfer, you might like to pass this one along to any friends who are.
I think this is something that all golfers should be aware of. In fact, I think all Americans should be aware of this.
THANK YOU, PING
This isn’t a joke or cartoon; just something interesting to know . . . you may want to forward this on to others.
On Monday, I played the Disney, Lake Buena Vista course. As usual the starters matched me with three other players. After a few holes we began to get to know each other a bit. One fellow was rather young and had his wife riding along in the golf cart with him. I noticed that his golf bag had his name on it and after closer inspection it also said “wounded war veterans”. When I had my first chance to chat with him I asked him about the bag. His response was simply that it was a gift. I then asked if he was wounded and he said yes. When I asked more about his injury, his response was “I’d rather not talk about it, sir”.
Over a few holes I learned that he had spent the last 15 months in an army rehabilitation hospital in San Antonio Texas . His wife moved there to be with him and he was released from the hospital in September. He was a rather quiet fellow; however, he did say that he wanted to get good at golf. We had a nice round and as we became a bit more familiar I asked him about the brand new set of Ping woods and irons he was playing. Some looked like they had never been hit. His response was simple. He said that this round was the first full round he had played with these clubs.
Later in the round he told me the following. As part of the discharge process from the rehabilitation hospital, Ping comes in and provides three days of golf instruction, followed by club fitting. Upon discharge from the hospital, Ping gives each of the discharged veterans, generally about 40 soldiers, a brand new set of custom fitted clubs along with the impressive golf bags.
The fellow I met was named Ben Woods and he looked me in the eye and said that being fitted for those clubs was one of the best things that ever happened to him and he was determined to learn to play golf well enough to deserve the gift Ping had given him. Ben is now out of the service medically discharged just a month ago. He is as fine a young man as you would ever want to meet.
Ping, whose products are made with pride here in America ( Arizona ), has the good judgment not to advertise this program. God Bless America and the game of golf.
Thank you PING !!!
Okay – now tell me why this story makes me all “teary-eyed.”
We’ve heard that the funds could be close to being depleted however, if this looks like a program that could benefit you, it may be worth your while to act quickly. If you or someone you know owns a home in the Lake VAlley and Meeks Bay Fire Protection Districts and currently has a shake roof, the Hazardous Wood Roof Replacement Grant program could provide an affordable way in which to upgrade to a newer roof. The program is designed to encourage homeowners with hazardous wood roofs to replace them with a full Class A Assembly, non-combustible, non-wood roof. Please note that there are steps to prove eligibility.
The following information was provided by the South Tahoe Association of REALTORS®: This grant program will provide eligible, participating homeowners with a 70% reimbursement (with a maximum reimbursement of $6,000) for the costs of replacing an eligible wood roof. This grant program is NOT retroactive for previously replaced wood roofs. USFS cabins and commercial properties are NOT eligible. Due to the informational requirements of the Hazardous Wood Roof Replacement Grant, the program is being broken into two phases. The first part of the process, Phase 1, closes December 2012 and the Implementation Phase, or Phase 2, following the approval of eligible homes, is anticipated in the spring of 2013.
Phase 1 is intended to collect data so that the Lake Valley Protection District may determine the Scope of Work. For Phase I, homeowners need to fill out a Participation Agreement and return the Agreement to the Lake Valley Fire District. This will determine whether or not the property is eligible for a grant. For Phase II, the Implementation Phase, homeowners must be found eligible for the grant and must want to participate in the grant program. In Phase II, the Implementation Phase, homeowners will be required to provide (prior to receiving reimbursement):
* Completed program Implementation – Participation Agreement
* Minimum of three (3) Contractor Bid Sheets, to be completed by contractors
* Signed copy of Notice to Proceed, issued by the Grant Manager
* Verification of payment to the contractor, with copy of PAID invoice
* Copy of El Dorado County Building Permit to reroof
* Copy of Verification of Completion / Final Sign-Off of the reroof
For any questions regarding the Hazardous Wood Roof Replacement Grant program, contact the Lake Valley Fire Protection District at 530.577.2447 or LVFPD@replaceshake.com
For more information about the Shake Roof Grant, : Click here
Day of the Young Child is the collaboration of many organizations and groups throughout the community, providing a variety of free early childhood education activities, demonstrations, and entertainment for children. There were various booths sponsored by local organizations such as First 5, Barton Health, Tahoe Youth and Family Services, Tahoe preschools, the Tot Spot, Choices for Children and many more. They offered a variety of play activities, art projects, book giveaways, games and science projects for the kids to participate in. There was also a Lake Valley Fire Department Truck that gave demonstrations and allowed the kids to sit in the driver seat. This annual fun filled event was held at the Lake Tahoe Community college on June 9th. 2012 DOYC Flyer