What’s going on with Lake Tahoe planning
February 26, 2013
I am Robin Reedy, Douglas County resident. I currently reside in Carson Valley; I have done so for the last 25 years. Prior to my residency in the Valley, I lived and worked in Lake Tahoe. I have worked in customer service positions in retail, in resorts, in casinos, in banking and in fast food and high end restaurants. Most of these jobs were held simultaneously in order to pay for my existence. Sadly this holds true today. The average resident must work more than one job to maintain the lifestyle they choose if they choose to live at Lake Tahoe.
I think that this is probably the biggest reason to have one area plan. Most residents are immediately disenfranchised from participating in the decisions of government. They just can’t take time off from work and their lives to comment on every decision that affects them. To allow one group to jump ahead and be given privileges that the balance of the community does not have access to is wrong.
Having been on the board side as well as the staff side of the government equation I understand how we have gotten to where we stand today. There has been no evil intent. Each expert is tunnel-visioned on the issues they are hired to solve. This county has been very expert at achieving goals in a piecemeal fashion by using each development application as a way to improve the infrastructure in a particular geographic area. Sadly this has created many beautiful roads, curbing and lighting fixtures surrounded by overgrown weeds from bladed areas where housing or other development ran out of money because of the mandates of this county.
Government policy and finance has been the bulk of my experience in my career. As a government strategy and efficiency expert; I believe that one area plan for Douglas County, given the small area we control around the lake, is much more efficient than having multiple area plans. In the documentation that is attached to today’s agenda, it only cites out-of-pocket costs for the area plan for the casino core of Tahoe. It ignores the time and attention of staff, and the fixed costs associated with that effort. It does not include the potential opportunity costs due to the intense attention to this small plan rather than other issues facing the county. What is the cost efficiency of a plan that only covers one small area? What is the ethical perception of a plan that benefits only one industry?
I truly believe that Tahoe is and can be the economic engine for Douglas County, but do we create an unleveled access for the other 99 percent of the Tahoe Douglas population who is already at a disadvantage?
Lastly I would like to address this issue as the Nevada gubernatorial appointee to the TRPA governing board. I am only one member with one vote on this board. I do not speak for the agency or the other members of the board. Whatever plan is submitted I will analyze in an objective fashion. I have to be honest though that multiple plans, when Douglas controls such a small percentage area of Lake Tahoe, seems to defy the whole “One Lake” aspect that is constantly tossed about as an idiom in defense of any argument the environmental groups offer.
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Speaking of environmental groups, while multiple plans do just that, create multiple meetings, multiple approvals, duplicative work … it also creates multiple opportunities for legal action, multiple opportunities for excessive legal expenses and multiple opportunities for negative press and increased costs to defend each action.
Believe me they will sue. It is my belief these groups continually raise money to create havoc while actually never attaining any kind of environmental gain. As a member of the TRPA Governing Board and the Vice Chairwoman of the Regional Plan Update Committee and a former Nevada State employee I can tell you that while governments constantly try to deal in good faith with these groups, acquiescing to concerns of these groups at the highest level of negotiation between both states, environmental groups and the TRPA they take turns suing and we still now have a Regional Plan that is going to court. That court will not be a Nevada Court. Why set yourselves up for multiple suits, over multiple years?
Just because something is harder one way does not mean you should take the easy way. Decisions should be based on what is right, not what is easy.
Robin V. Reedy is a member of the TRPA Governing Board and a Gardnerville resident.