Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Committee advances affordable housing policies to Dec. Governing Board meeting
Updates on Aquatic Invasive Species and Destination Stewardship also presented
LAKE TAHOE, Calif./Nev. – The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) Governing Board Regional Planning Committee advanced policy changes on Wednesday designed to help create more affordable housing in the Tahoe Region. Following nearly two years of stakeholder and public input, the proposed housing amendments will now go before the full Governing Board for consideration at its December 13 meeting.
“The disparity between housing cost and affordability for local workers impacts Lake Tahoe’s environment and the fabric of our communities,” said TRPA Executive Director Julie Regan. “This crisis is affecting resort towns around the country and maintaining the status quo in workforce housing options is not acceptable.”
The proposed amendments would only be available for deed-restricted housing units in and near town centers and close to transit and services. The flexibility would apply to building height, land coverage, parking, and the number of units allowed per parcel. Deed restrictions help protect workforce housing by recording a permanent, legally binding contract on a property’s title, or grant deed, with terms that specify sale and rental restrictions, for instance.
The committee recommended the full Governing Board consider approving the amendments at its next meeting, December 13, with technical changes on local employment requirements.
Learn more about the proposed amendments and other solutions to encourage affordable housing at trpa.gov/housing.
Aquatic Invasive Species Update
The TRPA Governing Board also heard an informational presentation from staff about the aquatic invasive species (AIS) program and the ongoing response to invasive New Zealand mudsnails discovered in Lake Tahoe in September. TRPA cooperatively leads the Lake Tahoe AIS Program with the Tahoe Resource Conservation District (Tahoe RCD) to prevent, detect, and control invasive species, which are an increasing threat to Tahoe’s fragile ecosystem.
“Lake Tahoe has one of the leading aquatic invasive species prevention programs in the nation and was prepared to handle the introduction of New Zealand mudsnails,” said TRPA Aquatic Invasive Species Program Manager Dennis Zabaglo. “With the commitment and continued support of our diverse recreators, and marina and boat ramp partners, Lake Tahoe will continue to be highly protected and on the cutting edge of AIS prevention and control.”
In 2023, watercraft inspectors ensured over 5,600 boats were Clean, Drained, and Dry before entering Lake Tahoe. Many of those boats were found with AIS and decontaminated prior to launch. A mobile CD3 decontamination unit is now available for non-motorized recreators to Clean, Drain, and Dry their craft. Provided by the League to Save Lake Tahoe, the roving unit will be placed at multiple recreation points throughout the summer.
To date, nearly 7,000 non-motorized watercraft users have become certified Tahoe Keepers who are educated on the need to Clean, Drain, and Dry all equipment and Dispose of vegetation and mud when leaving an area. Tahoe Keepers materials are now available for native Spanish language recreators.
Priorities of the Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Program are to build upon the New Zealand mudsnail response to contain the current infestation, establish sustainable, long-term funding for both prevention and control, and continue progress on the design and construction of permanent inspection stations near the current locations at Spooner Summit, Nev. and Meyers, Calif.
Learn more about the regional response to the New Zealand mudsnail and what everyone can do to stop their spread at trpa.gov/new-zealand-mudsnail.
Destination Stewardship Plan Update
Members of the newly formed Lake Tahoe Destination Stewardship Council from the Tahoe Fund and Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority joined TRPA Government Affairs Manager Devin Middlebrook to provide an update on the Lake Tahoe Destination Stewardship Plan. According to the plan, more than 2 million unique visitors spend nearly 17 million visitor days in the region, generating $4.5 billion in direct spending last year.
The new plan was signed by 18 regional environmental, public land management, destination management, and non-profit organizations, who have established a Destination Stewardship Council to manage implementation of the plan. Tangible progress since the plan’s adoption is making the outdoor recreation experience more enjoyable according to the presenters by reducing the impacts of traffic, trash, and illegal campfires, among others. Middlebrook highlighted actions taken to date:
- Microtransit services have continued to expand with more than 160,000 riders so far on the South Shore and an average 200,000 riders per year on the North Shore.
- The council is supporting transportation and recreation projects in popular roadway corridors such as Emerald Bay and Nevada State Route 28.
- Litter management strategies are being implemented throughout the region; Take Care ambassadors spent over 3,000 hours interacting with visitors at high-use recreation areas; and League to Save Lake Tahoe Blue Crew volunteers removed 6,836 pounds of trash in 2022.
- Destination Stewardship partners continue to grow funding sources to address tourism impacts:
- The North Tahoe Community Alliance awarded $20 million in community grants from tourism revenue for new trail construction, litter clean ups, improved access to recreation sites, and expanded micro-transit service.
- The California Tahoe Conservancy granted $449,000 to equitable recreation access programs that will get those most in need connected to Tahoe.
Information on all items heard at the meeting are available at trpa.gov/meeting-materials.
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