Place-based planning gets started at Tahoe |

Place-based planning gets started at Tahoe

Patricia Hickson

More than 70 basin residents gathered together Wednesday morning to hash out the issues and concerns of their communities, an active discussion that took place over giant aerial photo maps depicting the four place-based area jurisdictions of Lake Tahoe: South Shore, North Shore, West Shore and public lands.

The occasion was the kick off meeting for the place-based planning process, designed to help Tahoe residents identify and define the present and future needs, concerns and issues facing their communities.

The result of this planning process, which consists of nearly 50 meetings among all the jurisdictions between now and next September, will inform the regional plan for the Tahoe basin taking shape through Pathway 2007.

The meeting has been a long time in coming as each jurisdiction attempted what turned out to be a contentious process of selecting 12 to 15 representatives to a place- based group. Two of the four jurisdictions did not finalize place-based working group participants until early this week while Washoe County has still not chosen six representatives to join the six Incline Village representatives appointed by Incline Vision.

Despite the difficult selection process, participants Wednesday demonstrated their readiness to dig into the planning of their respective community’s future. By 11 a.m. circles, arrows, and squares decorated the maps laid out on tables in the four corners of the room.

Residents and public officials belonging to each jurisdiction, most of them officially appointed place based planning group members, stood and sat in animated groups around the increasingly colorful displays.

Around the map depicting Incline Village and Crystal Bay, Incline Vision subcommittee heads, IVGID officials and Washoe County representatives scribbled notes, circled main points, and argued over definitions.

“You have three minutes … two minutes … 30 seconds,” shouted meeting facilitator Bruce Race, a member of the consultant team hired jointly by the TRPA and by each jurisdiction to facilitate the place based planning process.

“This is what lots of pent up energy and passion for where you live looks like,” said Race as he paced among the working groups rushing to put together cognizant lists is the time allotted them. “Actually this looks even like more passion than what I have seen before.” Race, no stranger to community planning processes, said he has helped facilitate some 80 similar processes in communities around the U.S.

“This is definitely an interesting process,” said Diane Severance, an Incline resident who said she hopes to be one of the six people appointed by Washoe County to place based planning team for the Incline area. Severance, one of the only place based planning applicants in Incline with children in Incline’s public schools said her interest in participating as a place based planning group member stems from both a professional interest in the planning and an emotional interest tied to the lake’s future.

“I work in the urban planning and built environment field and we (my husband and I) came to Tahoe to raise a family – so we’re a little bit different than maybe your typical participant profile,” Severance said.

Under Race’s strict schedule each group was ready to share the issues and background they had come up with before the noon deadline.

“I want everyone to be quiet and to listen because what your neighbor is doing should matter to you,” counseled Race before group presentations began.

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