Regional plan enters new phase |

Regional plan enters new phase

Amanda Fehd

The drafting of Tahoe’s next regional plan will enter a new stage during a meeting today at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.

After spending the last two years deciding on goals and environmental standards for the region, the 40 members of the Pathway 2007 Forum now have to find ways to achieve those goals.

An example is the current land coverage system that restricts construction to, at most, 30 percent of a lot’s square footage. The rule is in place to prevent soil erosion and protect Lake Tahoe’s declining clarity.

The forum will start debating other ways to achieve the same goal, given the consensus that the current coverage system needs changing.

“We are going into the phase that everybody’s been waiting for,” said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Rex Norman. “It’s what everyone’s been wanting to do from the beginning: Strategies development. The forum is a sounding board to help look at impacts and advantages for different types of strategies.”

The Forest Service is one of four agencies in Tahoe that are collaborating to revise their regional plans.

The idea was to eliminate the sometimes conflicting regulations of Tahoe’s overlapping bureaucracies.

Other agencies involved are the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Lahontan Water Board, and Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.

This is the last strategic plan the Forest Service will devise. After adoption in 2007, the agency will use more flexible strategies to keep up with any changes, called “adaptive management.”

“We realized a long time ago that static planning documents that say this is the way it’s going to be for the next 20 years are obsolete from the point they are written,” Norman said. “It completely ignores that things change.”

For example, the Forest Service’s last plan did not predict that snowmobile and off-road vehicle recreation would skyrocket.

San Francisco-based Kearns & West is taking over as facilitators of Pathway. The company is a public relations firm that also specializes in facilitation and mediation.

Former facilitators Lisa Beutler and Dale Schafer’s contract expired this year.

TRPA long-term planning chief Colleen Shade will give a presentation on the progress of Tahoe’s place-based planning efforts.

Several community meetings this spring were designed to encourage more public input into the regional plan process.

If you go

What: Pathway 2007 Forum meeting, open to public

When: Today, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Harrah’s Lake Tahoe Conference Rooms, Floor 2

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