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Facts on future building the Basin

John Singlaub

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is in the process of updating the 20-year regional plan for the Tahoe Basin. The TRPA’s plan guides much of what we do here at the lake including the pace and nature of development. Many rumors are floating around town that TRPA will impose a building moratorium in 2007 since the development allocations included in the current regional plan will expire at the end of the year. I want to let the community know these rumors are false. We have a transition plan in the works to avoid disruption to the economy and the community at large.

Interim program

Our current regional plan was adopted in 1987 and will not expire until we adopt a new plan. However, the provisions for development allocations under TRPA’s current code expire at the end of this year. Every new home in the Tahoe Basin needs a building allocation to be built. TRPA’s allocation program involves an annual distribution of building allocations to local governments and is designed to ensure a moderate rate of growth at the lake. The Pathway 2007 process is underway to craft updated land management plans for the next 20 years.

Finalizing these updates will require about two more years to complete. Our current regional plan allows 6,000 residential building allocations over the 20-year period from 1987 to 2007, and more than 500 allocations have not been used to date. To ensure a smooth transition to our next plan, we’ve been working on an interim program to carry forward unused allocations over the next few years until our new plan is in place.

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TRPA believes there are ample allocations to carry the community over into the new regional plan. The intent is to keep the current allocation system in place during the interim period to ensure consistency and to make the transition seamless. In 2006, TRPA released a total of 212 residential allocations to local governments (counties, City of South Lake Tahoe) throughout the Tahoe Basin. Under the interim program, we would expect a similar distribution per year until the new plan becomes effective. With more than 500 allocations unused, there should be enough to go around until our new plan is adopted. There are commercial and tourist accommodation allocations addressed in the interim plan in addition to the residential allocations. The Governing Board will be voting on the comprehensive interim allocations plan this fall.

Shorezone update – what’s next?

Last summer we released Alternative 6 of the shorezone environmental document. TRPA has been working diligently over the last year to address the concerns brought forward and to incorporate the public and agency comments and suggestions we received into the final environmental impact statement document. At this point, we’re hoping to finalize the document and the proposed ordinances for a public release this fall. Following the release, TRPA has committed to go above and beyond what’s required to allow the public 60 days to review the document and ordinances. The Governing Board will vote on a preferred alternative after public hearings and deliberations.

It’s important to keep in mind we’re trying to bring closure to nearly 20 years of policy debate about the shorezone and we want to be confident in the final document. We know we’ll never find complete consensus on the shorezone but our goal is to move ahead with the best plan possible that balances the protection of Lake Tahoe with other public interests.

For more information and a history of the shorezone document, or any TRPA question, visit http://www.trpa.org.

– John Singlaub is executive director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.


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