Building a New Home in Tahoe? Are You Ready for Grading Season?

Although we are experiencing a very unusually dry winter, that doesn’t mean we can put a shovel in the ground quite yet.  In fact, homes that are ready to start construction in the sensitive Lake Tahoe basin have to wait until May 1 to move any dirt at all.

As an architecture firm in Lake Tahoe that has been designing mountain homes for over 30 years, we know the rules and regulations that come with building within the basin.   In addition to our architectural insight, our team offers professional advice and service to get your home ready for what is called the “Grading Season” at the Lake.

These services include all the preparation one must complete prior to breaking ground on your investment.

Highlights include

  • Site Planning
  • Space Planning
  • Permit Processing Assistance
  • TRPA Feasibility Studies
  • Contractor Selection and Bidding Assistance
  • Construction Administration Services
  • Personal Architectural Design Services
  • Custom Interior Design

Lake Tahoe Grading Season Exceptions

There are exceptions to the rules yet the options for moving any dirt are very limited.  Here’s a run-down straight from the TRPA website:

The Lake Tahoe Basin grading season runs from May 1 through October 15. Outside of the grading season, construction sites must be winterized and all soil disturbing activities (excavating, backfilling, etc.) are prohibited unless a Grading Season Exception (GSE) is issued by TRPA. GSE’s are only approved for projects where an emergency exists and the grading is necessary for the protection of public health and safety, for erosion control purposes, or for the protection of water quality.

Grading Season Exceptions are not issued to excavate a new foundation.

The following activities do not require a GSE, even outside the grading season:

  • Up to 3 cubic yards of soil disturbance (when not part of a larger project) if completed within 48 hours and the site is stabilized to prevent erosion
  • Paving, if all grading and base compaction is already completed

Whether you are planning to start to build a home this year, or just have questions about the intricate regulations that all home builders must abide by, I’d be happy to discuss your project with you at any time.  Just give me a call or send a note along.  I’ll be back in touch right away.

Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee



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