TRPA looking into affordable housing |

TRPA looking into affordable housing

Decision makers for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency this month may agree that Douglas, Washoe and El Dorado counties have not done their “fair share” to create affordable housing inside the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The action would mark the first time TRPA has not recognized the efforts of all the Tahoe jurisdictions and could hinder the development of housing subdivisions within those regions for at least a year.

“It’s kind of a wake-up call,” said Peter Eichar, TRPA planner. “It’s an effort to get these counties to really start pushing for this.”

Only the city of South Lake Tahoe and Placer County have demonstrated a commitment to assume their fair share of affordable housing, according to TRPA.

In 1996, TRPA’s governing board approved an Affordable Housing Needs Assessment, or “fair share report.” It identified each jurisdiction’s responsibility for providing affordable housing.

Each year TRPA has revisited the issue in December. Giving the governments time to act, previously TRPA’s board always recommended all the jurisdictions – Douglas, Washoe, Placer and El Dorado counties along with the city of South Lake Tahoe – demonstrate a commitment to assume their fair share. However, each year the criteria for meeting that commitment has become more difficult.

This month TRPA staff is recommending Douglas, Washoe and El Dorado counties have not done enough.

“The belief here is we have given them enough time,” Eichar said. “We should actually see some projects on the ground.”

The agency’s advisory planning commission will hear the issue next week; TRPA’s governing board is scheduled to make a decision Dec. 15.

What the action would do is prohibit housing subdivisions from being built in areas where affordable housing is also an allowed use, essentially keeping higher-priced subdivisions from taking limited building space away from possible future sites for affordable housing.

That prohibition would stay in place at least until TRPA revisited the issue in December 2000.

South Lake Tahoe participated in two affordable housing projects in 1999: rehabilitation of the 70-unit Tahoe Valley Townhomes and the completion of the 45-unit Tahoe Senior Plaza.

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