Keeping Tahoe … Tahoe (Opinion)
The last 12 months have been pretty extraordinary by any measure. A global pandemic, a deep but short lived drop in the stock market followed by rapid increase. A recession that didn’t “behave” the way recessions are supposed to behave. The Black Lives Matter movement. Protests and an insurrection. Oh, and just a minor presidential election.
Despite all of this, most of us reading this got to live through it all in this special place called Tahoe.
It’s yet to be seen what long term changes will be incorporated into our lives as a result of all these dramatic occurrences of the last 12 months, but one thing is certain, life goes on. Things change, we adapt, and we keep going.
I think this is just as true for the extreme housing challenges that Tahoe is facing as well. We had an incredibly tight housing market before COVID hit, but calling it tight now seems insignificant in hindsight. We have to find ways to incorporate change to our community in a way that allows us all to thrive.
I believe housing is the cornerstone of progress for Tahoe. Without access to housing that is affordable to our local families and workforce, our community will suffer. However, we’ve seen some incredible progress on housing despite significant changes.
The Tahoe Prosperity Center is still driving strategic change by leveraging the South Shore Local Resident Housing Action Plan we released in March 2020. The participants in the Housing Tahoe Partnership have made outstanding progress on some of those strategies including several new affordable housing developments both for renters and owners.
You may have read in January’s column about the creative new voluntary transfer tax being managed by the El Dorado Community Foundation. Our local utility providers are getting in the game with a new sewer unit transfer program designated for affordable housing. And the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is considering changes to accessory dwelling units laws that would allow more ADU’s in the basin, as well as changes to density regulations, both of which should make it easier for “affordable by design” construction projects to pencil.
There is much more work ahead of us and the Prosperity Center is proud to be involved. Building on the success of the South Shore Housing Tahoe Partnership, we’ve just begun working on the new Washoe Tahoe Housing Partnership for Incline Village and Crystal Bay.
With our South Shore study, combined with the amazing work from the Mountain Housing Council who’s leading the charge in Truckee and the North Shore, this will be the last piece of the puzzle in understanding how the regional housing environment is interconnected.
The key to all of these programs is doing it in a way that stays true to Tahoe. We have to find a way to house our workforce so businesses can find and hire employees. We need homes for our local families to raise their children. And we need all different types of homes to ensure all the many different types of people who choose to call Tahoe home have options available to them.
Chase Janvrin is program manager for the Tahoe Prosperity Center. This is part of a monthly housing series, brought to you by the TPC. To stay up to date on how to help support housing efforts in the South Shore, sign up for the Tahoe Prosperity Center’s newsletter at https://tahoeprosperity.org/#newsletter.
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