Development hearings start on the North Shore | SierraSun.com

Development hearings start on the North Shore

" Sierra Sun staff reports

Beginning today, Placer County officials will come to Tahoe residents who are seeking minor development approvals, rather than residents having to travel to Auburn.

As part of its effort to improve services offered to residents and businesses, the Placer County Community Development Resources Agency will begin holding monthly zoning administrator hearings in the Tahoe area, officials said.

The hearings are typically held for requests for minor use permits, setbacks, building heights, variances and similar projects in the Tahoe area.

Several county departments’ roles in development issues ” including planning, zoning, building and environmental health ” have been consolidated into Placer County Development Resources Agency.

For western Placer County, twice-monthly zoning administrator hearings will continue to be held in Auburn. However, for projects east of Donner Summit, hearings will now be held on the North Shore.

The Tahoe hearings will be held on the first Wednesday of the month.

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Principal planner Bill Combs, a 30-year county employee, will serve as the hearing officer. Combs has been working on Tahoe issues since 1980 and has served as a hearing officer since 1990. He will be assisted by Barbara Young, who works in the County Chief Executive Office in Tahoe.

“We think it’s a great idea to bring the process closer to the constituents in the Tahoe area,” Combs said in a written statement. “It will save people time by not making them come to Auburn for hearings. It will also make it easier for neighbors to get to hearings if they want to offer comments.”

Countywide, the Tahoe area generates about 20 percent of all cases heard before a zoning administrator. Major projects or large developments will continue to be heard before the planning commission in Auburn.

The development of a program to hold zoning administrator hearings at Lake Tahoe reflects an overall improvement of county services, officials said.

The Placer County Chief Executive’s Office held public workshops at Tahoe last fall to solicit input from stakeholders on ways to improve the county’s delivery of services. This new program to hold zoning hearings at the Lake resulted from that process.

“Holding zoning administrator hearings in Tahoe is another step in making it easier to do business with Placer County,” said Tom Miller, county executive officer, in a written statement. “Given the complexity of development in the Tahoe Basin, we feel extremely lucky to have someone with Bill’s experience and firsthand knowledge serving in this new role.”