TRPA looks to cut red tape
If you want to build a dog house, remodel your home or put up a fence in the Lake Tahoe Basin you need permission from …
Well, let’s not go there.
One thing is certain; you need permission from at least two – sometimes several – government agencies.
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency wants that to stop.
The bi-state regulatory agency is working on a Permit Integration Program to coordinate the regulations of all the basin’s government agencies. The program is expected to make the permitting process easier and more understandable for residents.
“It will be one-stop shopping. That’s the ultimate goal,” said Rick Angelocci, TRPA’s chief of project review.
While TRPA historically focused on building regulations, TRPA officials altered its purpose in recent years. TRPA created the Environmental Improvement Program as a guideline for saving the clarity of Lake Tahoe. Instead of spending all its time reviewing property-owners’ projects, TRPA now tries to focus more on water quality restoration.
The Permit Integration Program will allow TRPA staff – as well as other government members – to spend more time on EIP projects.
“Region-wide there are a lot of government employees. 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 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 several other organizations such as the South Tahoe Public Utility District, Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board and California Tahoe Conservancy. However, TRPA plans to improve those MOUs.
“Currently each district has different levels of MOUs,” Angelocci said. “For example, the city of South Lake Tahoe can (approve some TRPA regulations but not all). What we want to do is expand that. Years ago there was no delegation with anyone. (TRPA) would add an additional layer everyone would have to go through. The ultimate goal is you go to one location and get all the permits required at that one location.”
TRPA this month released its Permit Integration Program Action Plan, prepared by a San Francisco consulting firm, which outlines the best way for TRPA to proceed with the program.
Angelocci said the plan outlines up to 50 action items he hopes to move forward on within the next few months to improve the process. Putting all of the permits on TRPA’s Web site and having planners review the papers from the Internet is an idea TRPA is pursuing.
“By putting the documents on the Internet, people could sit at home, pull up an application, fill it out and return it – without ever having to drive down to our office,” Angelocci said.
The permit integration program will not lessen TRPA’s standards, Angelocci said.
“This is not to lessen the environmental standards out there,” he said. “It’s to better implement them.”
Angelocci plans to make a presentation on the program at this week’s TRPA meeting.
What: Regular meeting of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
When: Jan. 27, 9:30 a.m.
Where: North Tahoe Conference Center, 8318 North Lake Tahoe Blvd., Kings Beach
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