Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
Scenic Measurements & Reports

If you're fortunate enough to own a lake front home on beautiful Lake Tahoe, you've no doubt discovered that it's a bit different from owning a typical property. Not unlike some areas of Monterey County, there are some very strict design review standards and ordinances. One of the key differences in Tahoe is the existence of a numerically based visual impact system for homes within 300 feet of lake shore.

Most of the same standards apply to anyone visible from a highway or bike path which has been designated a scenic corridor, but unlike those areas the lake provides a level playing field from which numerical measurements can be taken. To take advantage of that, TRPA implemented a specific system of evaluating the visual impact of a structure or group of structures. It's essentially an effort to provide a fair, equitable, and repeatable system of evaluation as opposed to one dependant on human evaluations and interpretations.

Many homeowners automatically balk at the thought of being restricted by a body such as TRPA, but the reality of the situation is that their role is, among other things, to protect all of us from the whims of any one individual. If you wish to build a house in the shape of a giant pink flamingo with one leg in the lake, you might want to go elsewhere - it's going to be an uphill battle here.

Principal Photography
and Field Work

Computer Generated Modeling

Measurement & Analysis

& Reporting

From data collection to reporting, the most repeatable and verifiable methods are used. Computer generated modeling, GPS, laser ranging, and other means are vertically integrated to ensure total control over the process, and that the results are consistently accurate,

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A full explanation of the ordinance and the measurement systems is beyond the scope of this text. However, I can offer an individual evaluation of your situation at no cost to you, and if engaged to do so I use some of the same methodical systems and techniques used in designing, modeling, and rendering residences to provide the most accurate scenic measurements possible. If you want every possible inch of lake view due to you under the ordinance, it's important that you be able to make your case in terms of measured inches, not approximated feet, with regard to your existing or proposed circumstance.

If you have any questions about Tahoe Scenic Impact ordinances, call and I'll be happy to discuss it with you. You can also contact TRPA by phone, or visit the TRPA website. Like the surrounding jurisdictions which they overlap, they work for you and will gladly advise you on what you need to do and how it should be done. Like the surrounding jurisdictions, what they won't do is prepare the needed documentation for you.

For additional information, see the Scenic Measurements FAQ