After years of debate, discussion and delay, Lake Tahoe's future could be decided next week.
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency's Governing Board is scheduled to vote on its Regional Plan Update during a meeting at Harvey's Lake Tahoe in Stateline on Wednesday. If passed, the wide-ranging plan will guide development in the Lake Tahoe Basin for years to come.
The plan has elicited strong reactions from both supporters and critics.
Proponents have lauded the plan as a way to improve the basin's economy and environment by providing consistent development regulations.
"It's the blueprint for a sustainable future," TRPA spokeswoman Kristi Boosman said Tuesday.
Giving property owners dependable rules will allow them to improve existing development, according to many supporters.
Runoff from developed parcels has been pinpointed as the major cause of the lake's clarity decline. Antiquated development has also been highlighted as one cause of the basin's struggling economy.
In a Tuesday statement from the TRPA, Dan McHale, general manager of Inn by the Lake, said he supported the plan. McHale said passage of the RPU will allow businesses to start doing more for the environment and their communities.
"What would help is removing some of the uncertainties from doing projects," McHale said. "This is important for existing and potential businesses. We don't need to remove regulations, we just need to reduce the uncertainty in the permit process to help rebuild what we have and improve the Lake at the same time."
But critics fear the plan will allow overdevelopment at the lake.
Representatives of the Sierra Club have raised concerns about the plan's ability to reach the TRPA's environmental goals. The North Tahoe Preservation Alliance has requested the agency revise the RPU's environmental document and recirculate it for public review.
The document fails to disclose or analyze numerous impacts from proposed rule changes, and the group contends the plan will allow for excessive height allowances and unacceptable increases in density, traffic and population.
"The FEIS document is so confusing and poorly organized it is nearly impossible for a knowledgeable much less a novice citizen to negotiate," according to a letter from the group last month.
Earlier this year, TRPA officials and governors from both California and Nevada agreed to get an update to the regional plan completed by the end of 2012, Boosman said Tuesday.
Approval of an updated regional plan was one caveat in a Nevada Bill threatening to withdrawal from the TRPA if the agency didn't allow certain changes. The bill also pushes for changes to TRPA's Compact, its founding document, by 2015. Nevada passed Senate Bill 271 in June 2011.
Next week's meeting starts at 9:30 a.m., with public comment scheduled for 10 a.m.