Efforts by both California and Nevada that could unravel decades of bi-state planning at Lake Tahoe were among the items discussed at a joint meeting of the South Lake Tahoe City Council and Douglas County Board of Commissioners Monday afternoon.
Nevada Senate Bill 271, passed in 2011, would allow the state to withdrawal from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency as soon as 2015. Separate California legislation, Senate Bill 630, would establish the California Tahoe Regional Planning Agency as the entity for approving projects on the California side of the lake if Nevada doesn’t rescind 271 during this legislative session.
“The bill would, commencing January 1, 2014, prohibit a project from being developed in the region without the approval of the agency, and would prohibit the approval of the project unless it is found to by the agency to comply with the regional plan,” according to the bill’s language. The legislation has not been approved and is undergoing financial analysis.
City Councilwoman Angela Swanson said she felt Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval’s decision to wait and see how a recent lawsuit by environmental groups challenging December’s TRPA Regional Plan Update resolves before rescinding the state’s possible withdrawal from the TRPA has effectively held the region hostage to the legal action.
Still, she said local jurisdictions should enlist the help of the governors of each state and federal representatives to ensure regional planning remains at Lake Tahoe. The loss of the TRPA’s Bi-state Compact could cost the basin tens of millions of dollars in federal funding, Swanson said.
The councilwoman rallied support behind getting the local jurisdictions to present a unified voice in the discussion surrounding the efforts by the states. What that message would be is unclear.
“We need to keep the TRPA together,” said South Lake Tahoe Mayor Tom Davis, adding he was surprised to be supporting the TRPA. An appointed CTRPA would not work in the best interests of the local jurisdictions, Davis explained.
But Douglas County Commissioner Nancy McDermid called the effort to repeal Senate Bill 271 “premature.” The bill allows for an extension of the state’s withdrawal from the TRPA until 2017. Two of the legislation’s reform efforts, changing the TRPA’s voting structure and the switching the burden of proof in lawsuits challenging TPRA decisions to plaintiffs have yet to be discussed, McDermid said.
“It’s not like it’s now or never,” McDermid said.
Sandoval and California Gov. Jerry Brown met last week to discuss management of Lake Tahoe. The outcome of the meeting has not been released. Sandoval also met with Senator Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, a sponsor of SB 630.