TRPA set to make scenic decision |

TRPA set to make scenic decision

The public comment process is exhausted and proposed scenic regulations for the shore of Lake Tahoe should be voted on next week, said the executive director of Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

“We have gone as far as we can go with the community-based approach,” Juan Palma told the TRPA Advisory Planning Commission on Wednesday. “As they say, it’s time to fish or cut bait on this issue and I believe it is time to fish.”

Palma cited a lawsuit filed by the Committee for the Reasonable Regulation of Lake Tahoe and 71 unresolved scenic issues as reasons negotiations are over with Realtors, lakeshore homeowners and other interested groups.

Palma said he and Dean Heller, chairman of the TRPA Governing Board and Nevada secretary of state, who attended Wednesday’s meeting, want to bring the matter to a vote before the Governing Board when it meets at Kings Beach next week.

When the Governing Board convened Oct. 23, it voted to postpone the scenic issue until January. Heller did not attend the meeting and less than a week later made a request for the Governing Board to reconsider its vote.

Palma described the process of collecting public input on the issue, which began last winter, as an arduous one. The image of a wagon train tromping across a frontier was projected on a screen as he spoke.

Rebutting those who argue scenic regulations will have a huge economic impact, Palma showed data regarding the basin’s $1.3 billion economy and said: “It is not the economy against the environment, it is the economy with the environment.”

Palma then turned the show over to Carl Hasty, TRPA deputy director, who gave an update on a system that would tie the right to build a home at the basin to the performance of a county or the city of South Lake Tahoe on environmental projects.

The system, referred to as allocations, has not been voted on because, like scenic, people have had concerns with it.

“We did delay the vote at the request of some local board members,” Hasty said. “(But) it’s on track and I will be bringing that to the board in December.”

The system, which would reduce the base number of building rights each year from 300 to 150, would award extra building rights to the city or a county for solid environmental performance and penalize jurisdictions for lousy performance.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at

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