Memorandum between fire department and TRPA still unsigned |

Memorandum between fire department and TRPA still unsigned

Jack Carrerow

INCLINE VILLAGE – The good news: The North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency have a Memorandum of Understanding on paper.

The bad news: No one from either agency has signed it yet.

The MOU was requested by the fire district, in an attempt to better clarify who was in authority, when it came to fire prevention measures in the Incline Village/Crystal Bay area.

“We’re dealing with life versus environmental concerns here,” said NLTFPD board director Chris Plastiras. “The question is which of the two issues take precedence, when it comes to action being needed.”

NLTFPD Battalion Chief Greg McKay said that it was just a matter of some wording in the document that is holding things up.

“We’re still sorting out some authority issues and we’re hoping that the legal counsels for both agencies will be able to work them out,” McKay said.

The document tries to sort out what and who has authority in fire related matters with regards to tree cutting permits and defensible space work, but falls a little short on clarity, according to Plastiras.

“In one section, TRPA states that they are delegating authority to the district, to give residents the convenience of ‘one stop shopping,’ in the permitting process,” Plastiras said. “I’m not sure that TRPA is in the position to delegate and it puts the district in a sort of subservient position.”

Plastiras also maintains that, while NLTFPD is given time limits in certain matters, “TRPA has no time constraints in any of the issues contained in the document.”

Even with all the fixes needed according to the district, McKay is hopeful that the issues can be resolved soon.

“I’m hoping that legal counsels for both sides can come to an agreement today (Tuesday), because I have to go to their (TRPA) Advisory Planning Committee meeting on Wednesday,” McKay said.

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