Court Gavels Down NIMBYs in Lake Tahoe

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A lawsuit against cell towers in South Lake Tahoe, CA continues, but no longer includes the Tahoe Prosperity Center (TPC) as a defendant, reports the Tahoe Daily Tribune. TPC posited that “plaintiffs fail to tether any of their allegations to any statutory authority as the basis for their purported ‘claims’ against TPC.” Upon further consideration, the plaintiffs agreed, dismissing the TPC with prejudice, which bars them from bringing the same, or similar, charges against the group at a later date.

Plaintiff Monica Eisenstecken, Tahoe Stewards, LLC, Tahoe for Safer Tech and Environmental Health Trust originally launched the suit against both TPC and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), claiming that continued cell tower development negatively impacts home values. The suit specifically points the finger at TRPA for violating its duties and and responsibilities to preserving the community.  

“The Tahoe Prosperity Center believes that adding a small number of strategically located, environmentally appropriate, cell towers to improve coverage for our community is an important goal for public safety and improved communications,” stated TPC Board Chair Frank Gerdeman in response to the dismissal. “We shared that in public comment in January 2020, at a city council meeting and for that, we were sued. Our CEO has been continually harassed since then and this lawsuit is another attempt at silencing our organization on this important matter. Fortunately, plaintiff’s attorneys recognized that there was no merit in trying to keep us in this frivolous lawsuit.”

The TPC website states the group’s purpose: “We work regionally with local businesses, jurisdictions, non-profits, and community members to advance identified, data-driven initiatives that better the environment, community, and economy for everyone living and working in Tahoe. To make this beautiful region truly inclusive and prosperous, we are working to establish attainable workforce housing, job and training opportunities, reliable and robust internet, and a safe Basin equipped with fire safety cameras – all driven by locally focused, topical community indicators data.”

TPC CEO Heidi Hill Drum said she applauds the dismissal, noting, “It is offensive being sued for simply speaking out under our First Amendment rights and we are thankful their attorneys finally recognized that and dismissed us from this lawsuit. We’ll continue to promote better connectivity in Lake Tahoe, despite the ongoing, ‘anonymous,’ harassment in public comment.”

The TRPC has a court date scheduled in June.

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