An open approach from TRPA: Bistate agency on track to approve communication rules | TahoeDailyTribune.com

An open approach from TRPA: Bistate agency on track to approve communication rules

Gregory Crofton

Rules designed to keep the Governing Board of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency operating on a level playing field could be adopted when the board meets Wednesday at Stateline.

The policy would require board members to disclose the existence and content of communication with members of the public outside of a board meeting. The disclosure is only required if the communications were related to a matter the board is about to vote on, not if the matter is up for discussion.

Some TRPA board members in the past have voluntarily disclosed such communications or removed themselves from a vote if there appeared to be a conflict of interest. The suggestion to formalize a policy was born out of a report released last April that analyzed how the TRPA operates.

The policy would not be unique for a public agency. The California Coastal Commission, for example, adopted a somewhat similar communication requirement in 1993.

Also at the Wednesday meeting, the board is expected to:

— Approve changes in TRPA ordinances that relate to the construction of affordable housing in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The wording changes would remove a layer of paperwork from the building application process by allowing immediate access to a pool of free development rights set aside for affordable housing projects.

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Land that the affordable housing is to be constructed on still must be zoned for multifamily residential housing, but builders would no longer have to request preferred affordable housing and multiresidential incentive program designations from the agency.

“We’ve taken a look at our code in last five-plus years and made about 10 code changes to our regional plan to provide more incentives for affordable housing,” said Julie Regan, TRPA communications director. “We have a housing element in our regional plan and we’re making sure we’re working with the community to provide as many incentives as possible.”

— Approve the release of nearly $2 million collected by the TRPA through environmental impact fees. El Dorado County will receive $944, 244 for erosion control projects, bike path work and stream environment zone restoration in El Dorado County.

Placer County is slated to receive $1 million for a street-cleaning vactor truck, compressed natural gas fueling station projects, the Kings Beach commercial core project and various erosion control projects.

– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at gcrofton@tahoedailytribune.com

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