Regional Plan Update | TRPA wraps first discussion phase, process goes on hold |

Regional Plan Update | TRPA wraps first discussion phase, process goes on hold

Matthew Renda

KINGS BEACH, Calif. – The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency wrapped up the first phase of discussion about the proposed regional plan update, which aims to dictate the pace of development and growth in the Lake Tahoe Basin for at least the next 20 years.

The agency’s governing board reviewed the fifth and final milestone – conservation – during an all-day meeting Wednesday at the North Tahoe Events Center in Kings Beach, Calif. The discussion elicited the least amount of debate or contention from the public of any milestone.

Debate focused on if updated soil surveys that will be incorporated into the land capability map will supersede previous soil surveys and maps developed in the 70s and 80s. The land capability map is one of the more prominent tools TRPA uses to determine a land parcel’s capacity for development.

The agency currently uses two systems – Bailey’s land capability system and Individual Parcel Evaluation System – to determine the amount of land on a parcel on which one can build. The maximum is 30 percent, and that number is not proposed to change.

“The new survey will provide a more accurate baseline from which to begin assessing land capability,” said Regional Plan Update Director Harmon Zuckerman.

Zuckerman said the new soil survey will supplement data derived from current land capability methodologies.

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The other conservation topic centered on wildlife management. Zuckerman said the agency would use lists of threatened species compiled by state and federal services to ensure their habitat will not be threatened by development.

The Regional Plan Update process is now on hold for the next six months, as TRPA staff prepares to incorporate direction from the board into a document, which will be analyzed as part of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

The DEIS will be administered by an outside source. The purpose is to analyze the environmental impacts of the suggestions made by staff and endorsed by the board.

When the time comes, further Regional Plan Update discussion will focus on implementation of the various segments of the plan. To this point, the agency’s discussion has revolved around more broad policy level discussions.