Master plan report passed |

Master plan report passed

Lorna McDaniel

Despite suggestions of the intangibility of the “quality of life issues,” commissioners passed the annual report of the implementation of the county’s master plan Thursday with the idea that they would deal with related problems as they arise.

Former commissioner Jerry Bing testified to the commission that the quality of life can’t be measured.

She said some quality of life issues approved by the planning commission were inconsistent with the master plan and required staff and time to produce numbers that could be measured.

“I’m not sure the county can afford to do that,” she said.

One example of the inconsistencies she gave was air pollution.

She said air pollution caused by traffic conflicts with keeping a rural setting – requiring people to drive out of their neighborhoods to work – and attracting tourists because tourism causes traffic.

She said it was not possible to stop pollution from out of the area from filtering into the county.

Further, agricultural lands, which the master plan seeks to preserve, pollute the air with plowing and the burning of weeds.

She suggested instead that the quality of life be measured by the large amount of volunteerism evidenced during times of need and the absence of gangs and drive-by shootings.

She said the quality of life is obvious and, “I hope that the county will not spend a lot of money to measure the quality of life.”

The final issues adopted related to population growth, economic growth and diversification, fiscal condition of the county, changes in air quality, changes in surface or groundwater, traffic levels cultural resources, education and retention of agricultural land.

Planning commissioners grappled with the issues outlined in the master plan as to which could be easily measured and over which the county had direct or indirect control.

John Doughty, county planning and economics development manager, said the proposal to remove of the concept of availability of affordable housing from the issues caused concern from the public.

He assured the commission that affordable housing is still one of the objectives of the master plan, and incentives to implement it are included in the new development code. He added that there is also a local government committee of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency addressing the issues of affordable housing at the Lake.

Commissioner Kelly Kite said, “Everybody has a different idea of what the quality of life is.

“Some people want to live on a street paved with gold. I just want to live on street that is paved,” he added, laughing.

In related business in adopting the annual report, the development code was identified as the first of seven priorities of the implementation of the master plan.

Bob Nunes, director of community development, said the revised code would be drafted within the next 60 days.

Sandy Cable, Business Council of Douglas County executive director, said the council supported the completion of the manual to so that fair and consistent standards would be put in place in order to implement the master plan.