INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. (AP) — Environmental regulators at Lake Tahoe say Sierra Nevada College failed to obtain a permit necessary to move dirt and protect plants while building a new home in Incline Village for the school president.
As a result, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency issued a cease and desist order on Oct. 8 for the college to immediately stop work, except to stabilize the site and prepare it for winter, agency spokesman Tom Lotshaw said.
"It's a minor violation," he said, adding that the agency's governing board would have to approve any penalty beyond a possible $1,002 filing fee.
A filing fee for the grading permit costs $501, but agency regulations call for doubling that amount if there's a violation.
The college plans to submit an application for the house, which will incorporate garden modifications, to the agency and Washoe County in December, said Dianne Severance, the college's director of grants and sponsored programs.
"In our quest to protect the plants, the nature of the project grew and the amount of dirt that we thought we needed to move in order to re-plant these plants grew into what looked like a construction start," Severance told the Sierra Sun (http://tinyurl.com/n35dkj7).
Lotshaw said the violation will not determine the outcome of the college's application.
Lotshaw said the college moved and mounded on-site about 20 cubic yards of dirt. Any project within the basin that moves more than 7 cubic yards of dirt requires a grading permit from the agency.
The college currently leases a house for the president about a mile from campus. The planned one-floor, 3,000-square-foot structure will host events for students, faculty and staff, and existing and potential donors.
College president Lynn Gillette said a donation made by an anonymous individual is covering a large majority of the $1.6 million project cost, including garden improvements.
"I believe fundraising is crucial to our success, and for us to be able to have events at the president's home on our campus is a major, major strategic play for the financial success of the college," Gillette said.
The house is expected to break ground in May and be ready for occupancy in late spring, early summer of 2016.
Information from: North Lake Tahoe Bonanza.