What are BMP’s, and Why Are They Part of Tahoe’s Home Building Requirements?

Meeks Bay Architect BMPs Lake Tahoe

Meeks Bay Architect BMPs Lake Tahoe

For over 30 years, our architect firm has been designing lakefront and mountain homes that are situated with the Lake Tahoe Basin. And every year, our clients enquire about “BMP’s” which are defined as “Best Management Practices,” which are required as part of the home building (and selling) process.

With the building season around the corner, we thought it would be appropriate to dedicate this news article to this popular question.

BMP’s were created as part of the region’s quest to protect the Lake Tahoe Watershed that feeds into Lake Tahoe. As stated on the Tahoe Regional Planning Agencies’ (TRPA) website, here is the simple definition:

Best Management Practices, also known as BMPs, capture and infiltrate stormwater and stabilize soil to prevent erosion. This simulates pre-development conditions when precipitation would soak into the ground and be filtered by the soil, rather than running over impervious surfaces (like roofs and roads), collecting pollutants such as sediment and nutrients as it travels, and ultimately ending up in Lake Tahoe. Research proves that implementing BMPs on existing development is a critical step toward improving Lake Tahoe’s water quality and clarity.

The ideal end result is to ensure future generations continue to enjoy the pristine water within Lake Tahoe.

Whether our team at Borelli Architecture is designing homes, or commercial buildings, within the Tahoe basin, we will work with our partners to ensure the project includes the installation of BMP’s according to the TRPA requirements. Once the property has been reviewed and approved by a team member of the TRPA, the property owner will receive a BMP Certificate. At that point, it’s the owner’s responsibility to continue to maintain the land that surrounds their home or commercial establishment.

Examples of BMP’s for Your Home

There are some good resources available that have been written and published by the TRPA. Within this link, you will find an easy-to-read document that details some of the more common practices to prevent sediment and unwanted nutrients from entering our watershed.

It includes:

  • Paving dirt driveways
  • Installing drain rock under gutters and roof lines
  • Building retaining walls on steeper slopes
  • Vegetating and mulching open soil

For information, visit www.tahoebmp.org or call the BMP hotline at (775) 589-5202.

Or, feel free to contact our team. As part of our personal design services at Lake Tahoe, Borelli Architecture also offers the following assistance:

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

Finally, if you are thinking about building a home within the Lake Tahoe basin, now is the time to get started. Connect with us now for your complimentary consultation.

Jim Borelli - Borelli Architecture Lake Tahoe Carson City Truckee

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

New TRPA Forestry Efforts Give Hope to Healthier Habitats to Come

Hiking in Lake Tahoe

Hiking in Lake Tahoe

With memories of a summer filled with smokey skies and raging fires, residents throughout Lake Tahoe are fully-focused on efforts to keep summers like last year in the past and never to return.

Recently, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPS) Governing Board approved new policies to expedite forest revitalization programs throughout the High Sierra.  In a recent press release, they announced their plans – with the most aggressive change focusing on the change in policies about ‘ground-based’ mechanical equipment (bulldozers, etc.).  As the story noted:

The decision expands the areas where ground-based mechanical equipment can be used on steep slopes. The new policy will promote forest and ecosystem resilience to disturbances such as climate change, the agency said today.

Steep terrain can be more difficult and resource-intensive for land managers to reduce hazardous forest fuels. Prior to the update, Lake Tahoe agencies could use ground-based mechanical equipment on slopes up to a 30 percent gradient, while work on steeper slopes was limited to hand crews, pile burning, and aerial logging to protect water quality from potential erosion.

TRPA Executive Director Joanne S. Marchetta said, “The Caldor Fire and the surge of megafires in the region are clear directives for us to improve our forest health policies to better protect communities and the environment from wildfire. TRPA is committed to advancing science-based practices that protect the lake and bolster our resilience to ever-growing wildfire threats, especially given the need for fuels reduction work in untreated areas narrowly missed by the Caldor Fire.”

In previous years, in fact in decards, machinery was not allowed on ANY slope over 30%.  This long-standing directive dates back to our own experience here in Incline Village when the former Ski Incline transformed its resort and doubled its terrain back in 1987.  During that year, the expansion (now known as Diamond Peak) was literally built by hand.  And for those of you who have skied the upper mountain, you can only imagine how the crews had to dig the holes for the lift towers, remove vegetation, and build structures at the top of the Peak.

The story adds another visual to the challenge at hand:

The policy change will facilitate additional forest health projects on steeper slopes. Approximately 61,000 acres in the Tahoe Basin have slopes from 30 to 50 percent, and nearly half of that area is in wildland-urban interface defense and threat zones near communities where hand crews continue to work. Additionally, post-fire assessments of the Caldor Fire show that steeper slopes tended to burn at higher severity than other areas.

“This is a game-changer for fuels reduction in the basin,” Chief Scott Lindgren of Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District said. “Hilly terrain is a significant portion of the Tahoe Basin and with the right kind of equipment, we can do quality fuel reduction work and protect the environment at the same time.”

Our team at Borelli Architecture applauds the TRPA and all who are focused on a healthier, safer, future for the entire region.  If you are interested in learning more about their year-round efforts to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region, contact Jeff Cowen, Public Information Officer, at (775) 589-5278 or jcowen@trpa.gov.

If you would like a personal insight about the TRPA, securing building permits in Tahoe, and other key initiatives that are key to starting to build a home in the Tahoe basin Feel free to reach out to our architect firm in Lake Tahoe, Carson City, and Reno region.

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

 

Top Tips for the Perfect Workspace and Environment

Trends in workplace design

Trends in workplace design by Borelli Architecture

Throughout the year, we like to keep our clients up to date on business and architectural design trends.  And this news posting is yet another opportunity to share a business story that was recently posted in the Reno Gazette Journal re: American’s could be working from home until spring of 2022.

Above you will see a home that our architecture firm in Lake Tahoe is working on as we speak.  You will see that within this design, we have included some key features to keep the home/work environment light, bright, and efficient as well.

Our favorite part of this particular ‘workspace design’ includes a porch and a large sliding glass door that offers some spectacular lake views. In addition to the desk component, you will see that we have added ‘room to relax,” a good sound system, and plenty of storage to keep the area fresh and tidy.  All of which are assets that came to play within the RGJ story.

I’ll now share some of their insight (see information in italics) about workplace statistics and a few tips on how to keep the ‘art of working at home’ working for you in 2022.

How long will the ‘work from home’ directive last? 

When the coronavirus outbreak first erupted and workers were told to pack up their desks and prepare to do their jobs from home, many companies assumed they’d uphold that arrangement for a handful of weeks. Back then, no one could’ve predicted that 18 months later, a large chunk of the U.S. workforce would still be working remotely.  Earlier this summer, big-name companies started firming up plans to have staff members return to office buildings – some on a partial basis, and some on a full-time basis. But then, the delta variant hit, and since then, those same companies have had to walk back their plans and postpone their reopenings.

Facebook, for example, is delaying its office return until January of 2022. Apple initially postponed its reopening to October but has since moved it back even further to match Facebook’s timeline. And now, it’s looking like remote work easily has the potential to last two solid years.

Tips to  ‘feel right at home’ while working at home

Give yourself a break.  We have found that our team can get so focused on designing mountain homes that we forget to breathe.  As such, ew now set alarms every half hour to remind ourselves to stop and smell the roses – so to speak.  It never ceases to amaze me how a short break can help one’s mind regroup.

Save some ‘body’ time.  Within our architect design firm, we work with several of the region’s finer new communities.  And many times were are on site.  During that time, we make time to get out and take a short walk in between meetings.  Be it on the links at Clear Creek Development in Carson City or throughout the beautiful neighborhood of St. James’ Place in Reno, NV, there’s always an excellent opportunity to stretch the legs and take in the mountain scenery.

Schedule an actual lunch break.  Back in the day, when we worked in our office, there was always someone talking about where they would go for lunch.  Today, it’s a bit different as our kitchen is steps from our interior design firm and architect company in Nevada.

Get comfy, yet not too comfy.  Article after article that we read about tips for the perfect workspace and environment note that wearing sweats and t-shirts may be comfortable, they apparently have a way of making humans too lazy.  One article actually noted that the best thing to wear is pants with a tight waistband. It reminds us to keep away from the tempting snacks and daily pizza routine.

Top tips for an ideal workspace design.

Above you will see a home that our architecture firm in Lake Tahoe is working on as we speak.  You will see that within this design, we have includes some key features to keep the home/work environment light, bright, and efficient as well.

Our favorite part of this particular ‘workspace design’ includes a porch and a large sliding glass door that offers some spectacular lake views. In addition to the desk component, you will see that we have added ‘room to relax,” a good sound system, and plenty of storage to keep the area fresh and tidy.

If you have been working from home and feel like it’s time to remodel your office, or other spaces throughout your home, our team at Borelli Architecture would be happy to share some of the ideas that we have already implemented in properties throughout Incline Village, Truckee, Lake Tahoe, and the greater Reno/Carson City region.

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

Top Reasons to Move to Nevada

Top Reasons to Move to Nevada

Top Reasons to Move to Nevada

Over 30 years ago, I started my architectural firm in Lake Tahoe.  As time went on, fortune followed as hundreds of my clients decided to leave the city life and head to the High Sierra.  Lucky for all of them, and my wife and I, we still love the decision we made so many years ago.

I was reminded of this fate while reading a story in the ‘about why Nevada is such a great place to live.  The article was written by Journalist Brett McGuinness is entitled: Why I Am Thankful to be a Nevadan. Here are some of the highlights that we thought you might enjoy reading and/or sharing with your friends and family.

Nevada is a great place to call home.  Why? Here’s what Brett had to say, as noted in the italics below.

1) Wide Open Space

More than 3 million people live in the Silver State. That’s slightly fewer residents than Iowa and slightly more than Arkansas, putting us at No. 33 out of 50 states, population-wise. Pre-pandemic numbers ranked Nevada as the third-most-visited state in the country, trailing only California and Florida. Everyone in America knows Nevada. And international tourists know us, too … mainly because of Las Vegas, but still.

2) It can be lonely, and that’s a good thing

If you love personal space, there are few spots on the planet with fewer humans than Nevada: just 28.5 people per square mile… if you were blindfolded, strapped into a parachute, and shoved out of an airplane, and your first thought upon landing is “Where is everybody?” there’s a good chance you’re in Nevada.

3) There’s a lot of ‘horsing around

If you have time, head down to the old south Reno area and poke into the neighborhoods off of NV 341 (on your way to Virginia City).  In addition to viewing some of the old architectural designs of homes built in the late 1960s and 1970s, you will likely see horses roaming around in the neighborhoods?  As Brett noted:

But how many places have wild horses hanging out on front lawns? It’s worth the occasional cleanup just so we can post horse pictures to social media and astound all our out-of-state friends.

4) Rock stars love it here

You know who’s on stage this weekend in Reno?  Multi-platinum rock group Cheap Trick, Emmy-nominated comedy writer Demetri Martin and Grammy-winning comedian Lewis Black.  Do you know who’s on stage in Mobile and Huntsville?

5) And there are endless stars to see

Because of the whole no-people-having situation, Nevada also has some of the best stargazing sites in the world. Among them are the International Dark Sky Park in northeastern Nevada’s Great Basin National Park and the Dark Sky Sanctuary at northwestern Nevada’s Massacre Rim. These sites are so free from light pollution, the stars themselves are literally bright enough to cast shadows. 

6) We’re friendly, and very tax-friendly as well

The list of reasons why one should move their family OR their business to Nevada is too long for this short news clip.  Yet for the full details, visit the Economic Development Authority of Nevada and read on!

So there you are.  If you have plans to move to Nevada and build a home, or purchase a home and need an architect to help you remodel your investment, do reach out to our team.  Our team at Borelli Architecture in Incline Village and Lake Tahoe has been providing advice about the best reasons to move to Nevada for decades and would be happy to share our insight with you.

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

 

Home Winter Preparation Tips

Winter Driving Safety Tips for Lake Tahoe Homeowners

Winter Home Safety Tips for Lake Tahoe Homeowners

With three new feet of snow, and counting, at Lake Tahoe, now is the time to prep your home for the wet and white winter to come (unless you have done your chores before now)!  There’s lots of good information below that was published within the  Tahoe Daily Tribune and written by North Lake Tahoe Fire Prevention District’s Chief Ryan Sommers.

At our architect firm at Lake Tahoe, and based in Incline Village above 6,500′ we know all about preparing for what’s to come this winter.  That said, no matter where you live, these tips are good no matter where you live.  If you are here in the High Sierra, we encourage you to take the time to review the details now … in between shoveling this week? Next week? … We’ll see what comes our way!

The following content is courtesy of Ryan Sommers – as posted in the Tahoe Daily Tribune

Winter Home Safety Tips …

•Test and replace batteries. Check or replace carbon monoxide batteries twice a year: when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. Replace smoke alarm alkaline batteries at least once a year. Test alarms every month to ensure they work properly.

•Be prepared for cold weather. Prepare your home, car and have a winter weather checklist that includes emergency preparedness information for communication, making a plan and supplies kit. Register for CODE RED emergency alert notifications.

•Keep stairs and walking areas free of electrical cords, shoes, clothing, books, magazines, and other items

•Improve the lighting in and outside your home. Use nightlights or a flashlight to light the path between your bedroom and the bathroom. Turn on the lights before using the stairs. See an eye specialist once a year – better vision can help prevent falls.

•Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors. Have grab bars installed on the wall next to the bathtub, shower, and toilet if needed. Wipe up spilled liquids immediately.

•Stairways should be well lit from both the top and the bottom. Have easy-to-grip handrails installed along the full length of both sides of the stairs.

•Be aware of uneven surfaces indoors and outdoors. If you must have scatter rugs, make sure they lay flat and do not slide when you step on them. Smooth out wrinkles and folds in carpeting. Be aware of uneven sidewalks and pavement outdoors. Ask a family member or friend to clear ice and snow from outside stairs and walkways and always use handrails if available. Step carefully.

•Wear sturdy, well-fitting low-heeled shoes with non-slip soles. They are safer than slippers, stocking feet, high heels, or thick soled athletic shoes

•Have heating equipment, chimney and stove inspected and cleaned by a certified HVAC technician and/or chimney sweep every fall just before heating season.

•Test your Smoke and CO alarms and replace batteries if needed. Refer to manufacturer’s instructions

•Allow ashes to COOL before disposing of them. Four days or 96 hours is the minimum recommended cooling period for ashes.

•Place completely cooled ashes in a covered metal container. Keep the container at least ten feet away from the home and other buildings. They should never be disposed of in a plastic garbage box or can, a cardboard box, or paper grocery bag. Never use a vacuum cleaner to pick up ashes. The metal container should be placed away from anything flammable. It should not be placed next to a firewood pile, up against or in the garage, on or under a wood deck, or under a porch. After sitting for a week in the metal container, check them again to be sure that they are cool. If so, the ashes are then safe to dispose of in your trash. Ask your local Fire District if they have an Ash Can Program.

•As a safety precaution keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from a fireplace, wood stove, or any other heating appliance, and create a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires. It is important to make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying, and never leave a fire unattended, particularly when children are present.

We hope this safety information helps you and your family to prepare and plan for whatever comes our way.  And, if you ever need advice on key features to include in the design of your mountain home, do reach out.

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

How To Get A Permit to Build A Boat Dock or Buoy Mooring in Lake Tahoe

This past year it seems like the world moved to Lake Tahoe to enjoy the lifestyle that comes with living and working throughout the High Sierra.  Within this ‘dream-like lifestyle,’ comes visions of working in the morning and heading out on the Lake for an afternoon of wake surfing or waterskiing.

As one who has lived here for over 30 years, and designed lakefront homes at Lake Tahoe, this lifestyle is real and very doable.

However, slipping out onto the crystal clear waters from your own boat dock doesn’t come easy for those who have purchased a Lakefront home and want to add a pier and/or buoy mooring just outside of one’s home office.  Living within the Lake Tahoe Watershed comes with from pretty stringent rules – all for good reasons – to keep the Lake as pristine as it is today.

To secure a permit to build a boat dock or get a mooring is like winning the lottery, yet can be done.

Within the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s website is a section that will help you to better understand the steps one must take to POSSIBLY secure a permit to build your dream dock.  Here are some highlights from their website.

All moorings including buoys, boat lifts, and boat slips are subject to annual registration fees paid through this system. New moorings require a TRPA permit and existing moorings must be registered and/or permitted through the Phase 1 process below.

Allocation of New Moorings

As part of the Shoreline Plan, TRPA may permit up to a maximum of 2,116 additional (new) moorings. Allowable moorings include buoys, boat lifts, and boat slips and are distributed through the following pools:

  • 1,486 private moorings (buoys or boat lifts)
  • 330 marina moorings (buoys or boat slips)
  • 300 public agency moorings (buoys or boat slips)

New mooring allocations will be released in accordance with TRPA Code of Ordinances 84.3.2.E.4: a maximum of fifteen (15) percent of the available moorings from each of the three pools can be allocated annually.

Eligibility Criteria

Private moorings

Single-family parcels:

  • Up to two moorings per parcel; existing moorings count towards maximum moorings allowed
  • Littoral – single-family parcel must adjoin or abut the high water elevation of Lake Tahoe
  • Best Management Practices (BMPs) Certificate – The littoral parcel must have a BMP Certificate of Completion prior to entering the mooring lottery. You can check the BMP compliance status on the TRPA Parcel Tracker. For more information on BMPs or to request assistance from TRPA’s Stormwater Management Program, please visit tahoebmp.org or call the BMP hotline at (775) 589-5202.

In addition, private moorings must comply with all eligibility, capacity, mitigation, development and location standards of TRPA Code of Ordinances Chapters 80-85, which include, but are not limited to:

  • Located outside a Stream-mouth Protection Zone
  • Boat lifts: one per parcel on an existing pier, up to four
  • Mooring buoys:
    • At least 50 feet from another mooring buoy (50-foot grid spacing for buoy fields)
    • At least 20 feet from adjacent littoral parcel projection line boundaries
    • Buoys not in buoy fields: No greater than 600 feet lakeward from elevation 6,220 feet Lake Tahoe Datum, as measured horizontally, or no farther lakeward than elevation 6,210 feet Lake Tahoe Datum, whichever is less
    • Buoy fields: No greater than 600 feet lakeward from elevation 6,220 feet Lake Tahoe Datum, as measured horizontally, and does not exceed the maximum buoy field size (derived from littoral HOA parcel dimensions)
On behalf of our team at our architect firm serving Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and Carson City, NV, we are here to help you build the home of your dreams, be it on the lake, golf course, or high atop the High Sierra.

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060