Regional Plan Update enters high gear |

Regional Plan Update enters high gear

Adam Jensen

The plan for how the Lake Tahoe Basin will look in the next 20 years is contained in thousands of pages released by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency last month.

And several public meetings next week on the lengthy environmental documents for the Regional Plan Update and Regional Transportation Plan are designed to provide some insight into what is proposed for the future of the lake.

The priorities of the Regional Plan Update are to improve the environment by supporting redevelopment and investing in restoration projects, increasing alternative transportation and moving more permitting to local governments to return the TRPA to a more regional role, according to a Thursday statement from the agency.

“How do we restore Lake Tahoe and create more walkable, bikeable communities?” Joanne Marchetta, TRPA’s Executive Director asked in the statement. “Answering this question is a key focus of the Regional Plan Update and Regional Transportation Plan. We are currently in the comment period for the environmental impact statements and we hope you will let your voices be heard.”

The Regional Plan Update’s environmental document contains five alternatives with increasing levels of allowable development. The third alternative has attracted the most support so far and is the closest to the recommendations made by a TRPA committee created to look at the long-delayed Regional Plan Update.

Several groups have voiced concerns about the plan as proposed.

Representatives from the California attorney general’s office have questioned the legality of the draft and said they are worried it could weaken coverage requirements in the existing regional plan.

Area environmental groups have also objected to the proposed plan.

In a letter this month, The Friends of the West Shore, North Tahoe Preservation Alliance, North Tahoe Citizen Action Alliance and Friends of Lake Tahoe criticized the agency for the plan which could “open the door to large-scale development.”

“They promise to restore the clarity of the Lake, and reinvigorate the local economy by building ‘sustainable communities’ while boosting property and sales-tax revenues,” according to the letter. “It sounds great but is simply not true.”

The TRPA will hold open houses on the Regional Plan Update in Stateline and Incline Village next week. The Incline Village meeting will take place May 21 from 5-8 p.m. at The Chateau, 955 Fairway Blvd. The Stateline open house will take place May 22 from 5-8 p.m. at TRPA Board Rooms at 128 Market St.

The agency’s Governing Board will also take public comment on the regional plan at a two-day meeting next week. The meeting will start Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at the North Tahoe Events Center located at 8318 North Lake Blvd., Kings Beach, and continue at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at TRPA Board Rooms in Stateline.

The bulk of the meetings will be used to take public comment on the plans. The comment period on the environmental documents ends June 28.

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