Land Management & Acquisition FAQs

Why is my lot considered sensitive?

Sensitive means that the parcel has a Bailey Land Capability score of Class 1a, 1b, 1c, 2, or 3, OR an IPES score of less than 726.

What is the difference between the Bailey System & the IPES system?

The Bailey System and the Individual Parcel Evaluation System (IPES) were both created by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to rate the environmental sensitivity of parcels located in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The Bailey System was created first and rated all parcels in the Basin. The IPES system was subsequently created in 1987 and evaluated all vacant, residential parcels in the Basin. This IPES score supercedes the Bailey score on these lots. All residential parcels with an existing home on it prior to 1987 will have a Bailey score. All commercial parcels in the Lake Tahoe Basin will only have a Bailey score. Contact TRPA at or (775) 588-4547 for more information.

How much will you pay me for my lot?

A State appraiser will be hired to determine the Fair Market Value for your lot. The Conservancy pays for this appraisal. Among other factors, the value of your lot depends upon comparable sales of similar parcels, the location of your lot, and the rights available on your lot.

Will I be reimbursed for tax payments?

The taxes on your property will need to be paid by you while you still own the lot, and until escrow closes.

Can I donate my property to the Conservancy?

The Conservancy can either accept a full donation or arrange a bargain-sale of your lot if it is deed-restricted to open space.

If I donate my property, what tax write-off can I make?

To determine the amount of eligible tax write-off, contact your accountant or attorney.

How can I be assured that the Conservancy won’t re-sell my property in the future?

To date, the Conservancy has never re-sold any parcels. As an environmental agency, our policy is to manage properties consistent with the purposes for which properties are acquired.

How long will the acquisition process take?
Depending upon the level of title issues, appraisal time, and timing of board meeting dates, the acquisition process can take 6-9 months.

How do urban lots help to protect the Lake Tahoe Basin’s environment?

Lake Tahoe watersheds are the natural drainage systems that supply the Lake with water. The precipitation that falls within the Lake Tahoe Basin (both rain and snow) flows through the ground to creeks and streams, then into the Lake. Water that is conveyed by an undisturbed watershed is usually quite pure, because the watershed’s soil, plants, and organisms act as a natural water purification system. In fact, in an undisturbed forest, more than ninety-five percent of rain and snowmelt percolates into the ground, where it is filtered on its way to the nearest stream.

Acquisition of undeveloped, environmentally sensitive urban lots (meadows, creeks and streams, highly erosive soils, and steep topography) helps to mitigate the negative impacts of development on Lake Tahoe’s watersheds. These acquired undeveloped parcels reduce the amount of future impervious surfaces within Lake Tahoe’s watersheds and continue to provide the natural hydrologic function of undisturbed forest areas. In addition, these parcels can slow the flow of water from adjoining impervious surfaces and provide opportunities for construction of critical erosion control structures.

How does acquisition and protection of vacant urban lots benefit my community and me?

In 1980, Congress found that increasing urbanization was threatening the ecological values of the Lake Tahoe Basin and public opportunities for use of public lands. Additionally, maintenance of the social and economic health of the region depended on maintaining the scenic, recreational, educational, scientific, natural, and public health values provided by the Lake Tahoe Basin.  Acquisition and protection of urban lots contributes to maintaining these values, creating benefits to the communities in which they are located.

Urban lots provide open space within developed areas, reducing and filtering the noise associated with everyday human activities, providing quieter, more enjoyable living conditions and recreational experiences. Additionally, urban lots reduce the scenic and visual impacts of urbanization by providing forested areas that help screen and blend development into the natural surroundings.  Neighborhoods with publicly owned urban lots are more desirable to live in, and often have a corresponding positive impact on property values.

Why does the Conservancy manage forest fuels?

Prior to acquisition by the Conservancy and other agencies, forest and fuels management had not occurred on most urban lots. In the late 1980s through the early 1990’s, drought stressed trees became highly susceptible to insect attack causing widespread tree mortality at Lake Tahoe. The amount of dead trees throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin increased public awareness of declining forest health conditions and the potential for catastrophic wildfire in their communities. In 1990, the Conservancy began addressing forest health and hazardous fuels reduction concerns through removal of dead trees. Fuels reduction activities also include thinning of heavily forested stands and brush fields to improve forest health and provide defensible space to adjoining private lands.

What do typical fuels reduction projects consist of?

Hazardous fuels reduction projects include: removal of dead and dying trees, thinning of heavily forested stands, and thinning of brush fields.
Fuels reduction projects reduce the potential for catastrophic wild fires by:
1) Reducing the intensity of a fire by decreasing the amount of fuel available to burn
2) Slowing the ability for fires to spread by changing the arrangement and continuity of the fuels and forest vegetation
3) Providing a healthier forest environment, less susceptible to insect and disease damage, resulting in less dead trees and fuel concentrations

Why must encroachments be resolved?

The effects of encroachments on urban lots are detrimental both publicly and environmentally.  Public access is compromised anytime Conservancy lands are modified to resemble private property, through landscaping, lawns,  fenced areas, storage of personal property, or parking. In addition, encroachments often damage to soils and vegetation, leading to the degradation of the hydrologic function these lands are intended to preserve. In many cases, encroachments interfere with planned hazardous fuels or hazard tree abatement projects, and must be resolved prior to management.

How are encroachments resolved?

When an encroachment onto an urban parcel is found, the Conservancy informs the responsible property owner and requests removal of the encroachment and termination of the prohibited activity. In most cases encroachments are resolved through an administrative process involving written notification and on-site meetings with Conservancy staff. Some situations may warrant legal action if compliance does not occur by a specified date issued, or if significant damage to Conservancy lands has occurred.

It is the responsibility of property owners to know their property boundary location and ensure their property does not extend beyond that line.