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November 21, 2012
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Guest Column: TRPA needs to perform a Historic Resources Survey

As the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency rolls out its Final Draft 2012 of the Lake Tahoe Regional Plan, I am confounded. After being directly involved in this process since 2005 when the Incline Vision effort began in tandem with Pathways 2007, and The Village League to Save Incline Assets litigation is still being felt, there has been no mention of a Historic Resources Survey.The last time I checked, the TRPA is designated as our Certified Local Government (CLG) whose role and funding requires them to do this. The only mention of a CLG in the Final draft is in a context with their Moderate Income Housing Program. This is also misleading to folks who don't know there is a difference between a local jurisdiction and a Certified Local Government; the Certified Local Government program is a part of the National Park Service-National Trust for Historic Preservation which has various requirements. Nowhere in the draft Regional Plan Update is there mention of TRPA'S role as a CLG, nor the legal requirements.This was their responsibility under the National Historic Preservation Act, Section 106, before this proposed draft was ever written. A Historic Resources Survey is required to be done when federal planning dollars are spent.The results are necessary to identify local, state and federal cultural resources and heritage areas for Federal tax incentives including Research and Development Credits to be used for restoration and redevelopment purposes. Such heritage areas also include the opportunity to describe and preserve Heritage Corridors, which are also not mentioned in this plan. Only scenic corridors are mentioned.Fast forward to today. Incline High and Middle Schools meet a number of historic standards criteria, and are likely eligible to be listed on the National Register, and may even earn our school district tax credits to offset maintenance and repairs. Note: Thanks to Ronald Reagan, property owners will always have the final say as to whether to demolish, preserve and/or restore.Due to the current economic and schools climate, these public assets and their uses may become endangered or be taken by private interests, as there are limited sites sufficient and available for primary-secondary education. If taken, the buildings themselves may become vulnerable due to the association criteria and the fact that they are nearing the fifty year mark - as many developers fear this, versus understand it as a true fiscal incentive when identified as eligible for the register.When one understands that the determination of historic factors are also used as derivatives in the use of Federal preservation tax credits, then one could conclude that the Village League to Save Incline Assets litigation might have been unnecessary and avoided. Now, due to this debacle, Washoe County School District has millions in deficit owed to Incline taxpayers. This might be incentive for WCSD to want to work with those here who are interested in using this as a way to create a private school district and Independent Incline, since establishing a new school district is one way to legislate this proposed change.To make matters worse, as many of you know, there has been a Charter School application submitted to the Nevada Board of Education. A charter school may threaten to divide students from our Traditional Bricks and Mortar Learning opportunities and may undermine the viability for existing Public Education offerings to persist, again undermining the original association criteria for the Historic Register. Much will depend on pending legislation to fund our crippled schools - also a result of property tax issues where historic resources surveys statewide might be a way to help. The end result may be busing our children to Kings Beach or Reno, and the buildings could be taken over by private education interests.This oversight does not have to continue to be a cause set in motion. Joanne Marchetta has the grace and experience to enable folks to set this right. Empower her to do so! Demand for her to define the TRPA's role in relation to our Certified Local Government, and for the Historic Resources Survey to get done. Furthermore require the TRPA to call out locals in the scopes of work necessary for surveying to be completed and for them to secure the Federal funds to pay Tahoe residents to do it.Thanks to Lake Tahoe's water, her timber, rail, and the sacrifices of the Washoe people, the Comstock load was extracted, Mackay & Hearst's fortunes were made and the University of Nevada and Cal exist. The Union prevailed. Slaves were freed, and we are an America united. This is our heritage, Nevadans - let it unite us and protect and preserve our cornerstone in American history.- D. Alexandra T. Profant is director of The Tahoe Foundation. To learn more about preserving Tahoe's story, visit their website at www.tahoefound.com.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Nov 21, 2012 06:41PM Published Nov 21, 2012 06:40PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.