Charting a new course for Tahoe’s future | SierraSun.com

Charting a new course for Tahoe’s future

David Bunker
Sierra Sun

More than 70 North Tahoe residents gathered in Kings Beach Wednesday night to cobble together the “vision” for a 20-year plan for Lake Tahoe and its communities.

The meeting was part of the final series of “Pathway 2007″ workshops ” a process that is expected to produce the final, long-range plan for the Tahoe Basin by January of 2009.

Pathway 2007 is a multi-agency effort led by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

The meeting’s three-pronged approach to planning ” looking at the social, economic and environmental future of Tahoe ” is the “the triple bottom line” concept adopted by the bistate planning agency.

“We’re two things. We’re a human community and a natural community,” said Pathway 2007 consultant Bruce Race. “And those two things have to be planned together.”

But Wednesday night was not about re-hashing the substantial work that already has been completed by Tahoe communities in the numerous “place-based” meetings around the lake. Instead, the workshop Wednesday was about “folding those local plans into the regional plan,” said Jennifer Merchant, CEO of Placer County’s Tahoe operations.

Placer County, South Tahoe, Washoe County and public-land interests have all developed visions for their specific sections of the lake.

North Tahoe residents emphasized that nonmotorized and pollution-reducing transportation ” including a ferry on the lake and water taxis ” and affordable housing be added to the Tahoe plan.

“Affordable housing jumped to the top,” said Race, as the meeting was winding down.

Heads of North Tahoe agencies, business owners and residents all had their say at the meeting.

Environmental comments focused on water-quality issues such as stream rehabilitation, water filtration in what has become known as best management practices or BMPs, and a biomass energy plant to solve forest thinning and energy issues all at once.

While other ideas ranged from dog-friendly buses to making the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency governing board an elected body rather than an appointed group ” the wide majority of opinions from participants agreed on the transportation, housing and downtown revitalization themes.

“I’m always amazed how much in agreement we are with each other,” said Executive Director John Singlaub of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency at the conclusion of the meeting.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency board is expected to review the draft principles and concepts in the plan this month, and review the entire draft vision in May.

“Tahoe Bonanza News Editor Andrew Pridgen contributed to this report.