The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency's Regional Plan Update took a major step forward on Wednesday with the Governing Board affirming, in a straw vote, the recommendations of the Plan Update Committee to incorporate a package of revisions into a final plan and accompanying documents.
Part of that package included a suite of recommendations that came out of a bi-state consultation group led by California Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird and Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Director Leo Drozdoff. Together the two led a core group of stakeholders representing the conservation and business communities, local government and TRPA Governing Board members in extensive discussions that resulted in key compromises presented to the Regional Plan Update Committee in early August.
E. Clement Shute, Jr., Chair of the Regional Plan Update Committee and a member of the bi-state consultation group stated, "We recognize that no one got everything they wanted in the stakeholder process but all parties feel they were heard and that we're moving closer to consensus than we ever have in the history of Regional Plan Update process."
In March, the Regional Plan Update Committee concluded six months of intense meetings vetting policies before the environmental analysis was completed in April. A short list of issues remained that did not receive unanimous endorsement from the six-member committee. Those more controversial issues, including environmental permitting safeguards, community character, numbers of building allocations, and land coverage policies were then taken up by the bi-state consultation group.
"Having both states' governors make Lake Tahoe a high priority for their respective administrations has brought us closer to the adoption of a Regional Plan than any time in recent history," said Steve Robinson, Governing Board appointee from the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. "And both states remain committed to the future of Lake Tahoe."
At Wednesday's meeting, members of the Governing Board weighed in on the bi-state consultation process.
"I think what was so amazing was that in this small group of stakeholders there was a large sense that if compromise couldn't be achieved here, it couldn't be achieved anywhere, and it really put our feet to the fire," said Claire Fortier, member of the Regional Plan Update Committee, the bi-state consultation group, and the Mayor of South Lake Tahoe. "The process helped create more trust between the environmental community and local governments and created a base for ongoing conversations that have stymied progress in Tahoe for decades."
"The plan update proposes doing some things differently and that kind of change often requires a willingness to compromise," TRPA Executive Director Joanne Marchetta said. "Importantly, all parties shared a passion for protecting Lake Tahoe and we appreciate the leadership of the two states and the fact that they brought people of divergent interests to the table."
The packet of recommendations moved forward by the Governing Board on Wednesday also included nine additional revisions to the Regional Plan and/or Code in response to public comments. Those revisions and the recommendations by the bi-state consultation group can be found online at trpa.org.
"Given the years of work we've collectively put into the Regional Plan Update, I want us to take a moment to celebrate our progress," said Norma Santiago, Governing Board Chair. "We're on the home stretch now and we're grateful for the involvement of the two states in getting us to this point."
The Regional Plan Update's priorities continue to be restoring Lake Tahoe's water quality and making additional environmental threshold gains; returning TRPA to a regional planning role and transitioning more permitting to local governments; and supporting walkable, bikeable communities with multiple transportation options. The Governing Board is slated to take final action on the Regional Plan Update in December.
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency cooperatively leads the effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region now and in the future. For additional information, call Kristi Boosman at (775) 589-5230 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org