LAKE TAHOE — The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is most often associated with environmental issues such as erosion control, water quality and preserving Lake Tahoe's famed clarity.
However, following a presentation by Mike Ward, project manager for the Lake Tahoe Basin Prosperity Plan, agency chief Joanne Marchetta is reminding residents that preserving and improving the ecology of the basin is only part of TRPA's mission.
“We are not exclusively a regulatory agency that unilaterally addresses environmental issues alone,” she said during the Feb. 24 governing board meeting. “The economy, social fabric and environment are all components of our mission.”
Marchetta and several governing board members pledged to work in partnership with Ward moving forward.
Robin Reedy, governing board member, said TRPA's compact — its founding operational document — urges the agency to balance the environment with the economy.
“We should in fact do that,” she said. “This agency needs to foster a collaborative effort of both economy and environment.”
Ward said he believes the Tahoe Prosperity Center — the nonprofit established to realize the prosperity plan's many action items — can be an active and beneficial partner in TRPA's mission.
The prosperity center can help businesses align with TRPA's mission to streamline and expedite business growth in the region, he said. The organization has and will continue to walk a fine line between advocating for specific businesses and advocating for business prosperity in general.
For instance, Ward is aware that projects like Boulder Bay are highly controversial; the prosperity center aims to stay above the political fray.
He envisions the center fulfilling a liaison function, to consult businesses considering operating in the region on how to align their business plans with TRPA.
“We don't want to broker the Boulder Bay deal,” Ward said. “Instead, we want to provide a framework for prospective businesses and continue to advocate a public private partnership.”
The prosperity plan's website link is: www.tahoeprosperity.org.
The Tahoe Prosperity Center currently has a website, a vision and an action-oriented plan — but it doesn't have an office.
Ward said his organization needs about $1 million to set up offices on both the North and South shores, which is important given the bishore emphasis of the prosperity plan.
Establishing a physical presence in the basin is necessary to the plan's success, Ward said.
Ward has received seed money for such an operation from some jurisdictions around the basin, including Placer and El Dorado counties and the city of South Lake Tahoe.
Marchetta and some TRPA governing board members expressed a willingness to budget some money for the Tahoe Prosperity Center, although nothing definite was decided during the meeting.
The center also is pursuing grants through the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation in Incline Village.