TRPA agreement makes for user-friendly permit process |

TRPA agreement makes for user-friendly permit process

The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency have agreed on an updated program to improve the permitting process in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

In other words, it just got a lot easier and more understandable to get a building permit in the county portion of the Tahoe Basin.

“It’s similar to the type of situation we have in the city (of South Lake Tahoe),” said Fifth District Supervisor Dave Solaro, who represents South Lake Tahoe. “Essentially we have streamlined the permitting process, creating one-stop shopping. Now, citizens won’t have to go through a bunch of different agencies to get a plan checked.”

The county and the TRPA agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding at the regular meeting of the TRPA on Wednesday. It is actually an update of the Permit Integration Program that has been in effect since 1992. The program is a way for the TRPA to hand off some of its reviewing responsibilities to the county, allowing the TRPA to spend more of its time on Environmental Improvement Program projects.

“I think it’s a great project,” said Larry Sevison, chairman of the TRPA Governing Board. “We heard from someone earlier today that our image is not that good. I think this is a good way to change that.”

Rick Angelocci, chief of project review for the TRPA, sees the MOU as a great step forward.

“The key is are we using our staffs as efficiently and effectively as possible to get to our ultimate goal of the Environmental Improvement Program?” Angelocci said. “It’s kind of unique to have a government agency jump out and take the lead, saying that we’re trying to help all the agencies improve.”

TRPA already has more than 30 Memorandums of Understanding with South Lake Tahoe, all but one of the Lake Tahoe counties, and organizations such as the South Tahoe Public Utility District. All of these serve to consolidate regulatory efforts.

“We’re also contacting other agencies around the lake to see what else we can do to streamline things,” Solaro said. “The TRPA is making an effort to let local agencies administer their own rules and regulations, making their own agency less involved. That makes it easier and faster for the people when something needs to get done.”

The new Memorandum of Understanding would allow El Dorado County to review, permit and enforce applications at staff level for such projects as multi-purpose dwellings, nursing and personal care facilities, residential care facilities, summer homes, minor home additions, temporary use and activities permits, signs and underground tank removal and replacement.

This means, for instance, that it will be easier to replace or remove MTBE contaminated gasoline storage tanks in Meyers.

“The TRPA recognizes that it has larger issues to address,” Solaro said. “This will make it easier for everyone.”

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