TRPA’s approach to community planning becoming more clear |

TRPA’s approach to community planning becoming more clear

Matthew Renda
Matthew Renda / Tahoe Daily TribuneThe above picture is an example of the difference between two planning systems - Plan Area Statements and transect zoning. The map represents the Kings Beach commercial corridor. The top map is an example of Plan Area Statements, which uses one wide swathe to designate the entire center of Kings Beach as a commercial areas. The map below is an example of transect zoning, which divides the same commercial corridor into subsections, including a recreation area by the beach, a commercial area in the center of town and gateway corridors which could limit the density and height.

KINGS BEACH, Calif. – One of the North Shore’s more visible political figures refers to transect zoning as a “good tool” for communities to use – but one that must be wielded appropriately.

And fundamental to correct use of the new development tactic is understanding it, said Placer County supervisor and TRPA governing board member Jennifer Montgomery – which she admits is no easy task.

“It’s not simple,” Montgomery said at last Thursday’s North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council meeting in Kings Beach. “It took a couple of times before I finally got it. It’s important for people to understand the concept before they begin criticizing, which is why public outreach is so important.”

As part of its Regional Plan Update, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s wants to move away from the traditional Plan Area Statements zoning model toward transect zoning, which allows planners to divide a community into smaller segments, treating each district as a unique neighborhood with specific zoning requirements and standards, instead of viewing a community as just one or two discrete blocks. The entire Regional Plan Update is subject to eventual TRPA governing board approval.

Harmon Zuckerman, TRPA director of the Regional Plan Update, attended last Thursday’s meeting and provided an example of how Kings Beach could look using the transect zoning model.

Under the current Plan Area Statements, the entire commercial corridor of Kings Beach is zoned as Commercial. Under transect zoning, the community could be subdivided into four subdistricts.

According to Zuckerman’s example, one district would be zoned Recreation, which would provide regulations for the beach area. Another district would be zoned Gateway, which would dictate building on the east and west end of towns. Another district would be zoned Town General, which allows for mixed use of residential and commercial – which is not allowed under Plan Area Statements. The fourth district would be zoned Town Center, which resembles the current Commercial district under Plan Area Statements.

Zuckerman emphasized the example is just an explanation tool; if TRPA were to approve transect zoning, Kings Beach will not necessarily resemble the above-mentioned configuration, because, ultimately, residents and policy makers in various lake-wide communities determine how each area looks. Eventual final community plan proposals would be subject to TRPA approval.

“The use of transects provides more accountability to public and local jurisdictions and gives planners the ability to respond to local desires,” Zuckerman said.

That makes understanding the methodology that much more vital, said Montgomery, who added that while transect zoning is an adequate planning tool, receiving input from a broad range of community stakeholders during the implementation phase will be paramount.

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