TRPA moves to cut red tape
Lake Tahoe’s bistate regulatory agency is moving forward with its Permit Integration Program, an effort to coordinate the regulations of all of the basin’s government agencies.
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, which wants the program to make the permitting process easier and more understandable for residents, is in the process of upgrading several Memorandums of Understanding with various agencies in an attempt to create more “one-stop” shopping for permit filers. The MOUs will give other agencies the authority to issue permits that historically only TRPA could do.
“This will be, by far, the most MOUs made at one time,” said Rick Angelocci, TRPA’s chief of project review. “There will be many more coming down the line.”
TRPA already has more than 30 MOUs with the city of South Lake Tahoe, four of the Lake Tahoe counties and several other organizations. However, TRPA plans to improve those MOUs.
At TRPA’s advisory planning commission meeting this week, and at the governing board’s meeting later in the month, TRPA decision makers will consider improving the MOUs with Sierra Pacific Power Company, California Department of Parks and Recreation, the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board as well as create MOUs with the West Shore’s Tahoe Park Water Company and McKinney Water District.
The agencies’ respective boards also would need to pass similar resolutions.
The continued sharing rather than duplication of authority between Lahontan and TRPA – two large players in the basin in terms of water quality regulation – is very important, Angelocci said.
“We’re amending the existing MOUs to better utilize each staff and for each one to take sole responsibility for certain types of planning on the California side of the basin,” he said.
Work is ongoing with various agencies. Angelocci said TRPA and Douglas County are trying to work together to place a Douglas County planner in TRPA’s Round Hill office to handle all of the county’s Lake Tahoe permits.
“That would be the ultimate form of streamlining. One person for all projects in (the Lake Tahoe portion of) Douglas County – for TRPA and Douglas County,” Angelocci said. “We hope to have that in place by summer.”
TRPA is also working with the city of South Lake Tahoe to improve its MOU, Angelocci said. TRPA has never delegated its authority to any other jurisdictions concerning commercial allocations before. South Lake Tahoe may be the first, Angelocci said.
While TRPA historically focused on building regulations, TRPA officials altered the agency’s purpose in recent years, with the creation of the Environmental Improvement Program, 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. The program should help the public, too.
“We’re starting to divvy up our responsibility for the region,” Angelocci said. “It’s the public we’re trying to help. We’re trying to have better use of regulatory staff in the region. The public will be able to go to a single site for their permitting process.”
What: Meeting of the Advisory Planning Commission of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
When: Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.
Where: Chateau, 955 Fairway Blvd., Incline Village
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