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Tahoe land coverage rules could be at stake

Susan Wood

El Dorado County Supervisor Norma Santiago pledged Wednesday to a South Shore government watchdog group she would review and possibly change land coverage rules as part of a process to revamp the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s 20-year regional plan.

Santiago also serves on the TRPA Governing Board at a time deemed the most critical to the Lake Tahoe Basin. The basinwide regulatory agency is in the process of coming up with planning rules for the basin – one of the most controversial being a limitation that prohibits property owners from developing more than 30 percent of their land.

Former South Lake Tahoe Councilman Tom Davis, one of 17 people at the meeting of the Citizen’s Alliance for Responsible Government at the St. Theresa meeting room, asked Santiago if she was willing to change that.

“I’d support looking at it and evaluating it, in particular where density does not have environmental impact,” she said.

Santiago’s mission Wednesday was community outreach. She’s seeking a handful of diverse South Shore stakeholders to take part in the forming of the TRPA regional plan – called Pathway 2007. The supervisor’s wish list for the South Shore partnership committee includes those knowledgeable in Latino affairs, the environment, housing, the Tahoe Valley Community and Meyers plans. El Dorado shares the southern partnership with Douglas County and South Lake Tahoe.

“I want to make sure we have representation that’s a cross-section of the community,” she said.

That aside, the group – led by Chairman Pat Martin – had a wish of its own. Members of the group spun from an anti-Tourism Promotion Business Improvement District sentiment want regular updates.

“I’m just concerned they’ll come up with something, and this is it,” Martin said.

“I’m going to fight for that,” Santiago said. “If I leave you with anything, it’s that we have the opportunity to build a community we want to live in.”

Communication and input could be on the minds of the TRPA. It has requested money from local governments around the basin to chip in to pay for a consultant and forums to advance the planning process. Santiago said the county supervisors will address the $25,000 request by early February. The regulatory agency will schedule three community forums in seven months starting in March.

The city declined an immediate commitment to putting $50,000 into the process because it wants more accountability and committee representation.

“There is a vigorous need for local interests to be represented,” City Manager Dave Jinkens said. “I think we’re close (to committing).”


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