Carson City takes neutral approach on bill to withdraw from TRPA
Tribune News Service
CARSON CITY, Nev. – Carson City decided Thursday it will not take a position on a bill proposing that Nevada withdraw from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
Senate Bill 271 is sponsored by Sen. John Lee, D-Las Vegas.
“It is my conclusion, as chairman of the Nevada Legislative Committee for the Review and Oversight of the TRPA … that this bi-state effort has failed in its directed purpose and, in its stead, the Tahoe Basin is suffering from a stymied Regional Plan Update effort; lack of regional environmental threshold attainment; and a historical trend of protracted litigation of the TRPA,” Lee wrote in a March 25 letter to City Manager Larry Werner.
But Carson City Supervisor Shelly Aldean, who has served on the TRPA board for the past eight years, urged the board of supervisors in a prepared statement Thursday to take a neutral position, saying she had grave concerns about dismantling the agency.
“In recent years, under the leadership of Executive Director Joanne Marchetta, the TRPA has tempered its approach to regulating activities within the Basin. It has become more respectful of private property rights, more focused on customer service and more mindful of the value of cultivating private/public partnerships to achieve environmental gains, especially with the continuing diminishment of funding at the state and federal levels,” Aldean said.
She said that Marchetta recently testified before the Senate Government Affairs Committee and confirmed her willingness to transfer residential project permitting back to the local jurisdictions and to redirect the agency’s attention toward a focus on issues that are more regional in nature.
Aldean had other concerns, as well.
“I am also concerned about the water quality implications of disposing of an agency that has, with its partners, developed one of the most effective anti-aquatic invasive species programs in the nation and is responsible for managing Lake Tahoe’s very ambitious environmental improvement program using funding from the federal government, the states and local jurisdictions,” Aldean said.
About $415 million is currently pending for the TRPA, she said.
Michael Veatch, of the Sierra Nevada Association of Realtors, said there is local and state support for the bill from Realtors’ associations.
“There has been a lot of imposition on private property rights,” he said.
Supervisor Karen Abowd said contractors are ambivalent.
“They don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water … and they’d like to streamline the permitting process,” Abowd said.
Aldean said that when the agency was formed in 1969, there were different goals.
“There is not an interest anymore to be so regulatory,” she said.
She said she is hopeful that SB 271 “can be used as a catalyst to bring the governors of Nevada and California and legislative leaders in both states together for a candid and meaningful exchange of ideas. While we share a common goal in the desire to preserve Lake Tahoe, there is a very fundamental philosophical disconnect between the two states. While Nevada takes a more free-market, entrepreneurial approach to solving problems, California takes a much more regulatory approach.”