Placer to begin processing more Tahoe planning permits |

Placer to begin processing more Tahoe planning permits

Kelsie Longerbeam

The errand list for a new deck just got a lot shorter.

The days of traveling back and forth from North Shore to South Shore to get a permit from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) are soon over. As of Oct. 25, the TRPA Governing Board voted unanimously to increase the number of permit types Placer County can process on the TRPA’s behalf, saving Tahoe residents time and transportation costs.

A TRPA permit is required for any construction project in the Lake Tahoe Basin, ranging from the addition of a new patio to a large commercial development. Previously, this would require an applicant to visit the TRPA in South Lake Tahoe, Nev., to submit the necessary paperwork not just once, but possibly several times. The commute can take 90 minutes or more to drive from one side of the lake to the other depending on traffic and roadwork.

“Permit delegation to local governments is a major goal of the 2012 Regional Plan, and TRPA is pleased to see Placer County taking this next step,” said Theresa Avance, senior planner with TRPA. “We expect this to be more convenient for our shared customers, requiring fewer trips between our offices.”

Under a new “memorandum of understanding” between Placer and TRPA, the county will now be able to issue “TRPA Qualified Exempt” permits for simpler commercial, tourist, and recreation projects, as well as continue to issue permits for residential projects like new construction or additions and remodels.

“Processing permits on behalf of the TRPA is a huge benefit for our North Tahoe community,” said Rick Eiri, assistant director of the Community Development Resource Agency in North Lake Tahoe. “We realized that we can do more for our customers and help keep projects on track.”

While the “memorandum of understanding” does allow the county to take on larger scope projects, the county decided to take baby steps and only manage projects that can be handled quickly.

TRPA will continue to process permits for lakefront developments, projects requiring scenic analysis, or projects requiring an environmental impact statement.

Processing these TRPA permits helps to continue the county’s commitment to moving along permit approvals for North Tahoe residents. In 2016, the North Tahoe Fire District and Placer County Community Development Resource Agency issued a new permit program for approving simple building permits at the county’s office in Tahoe City, which previously required approvals from both agencies located in separate locations.

This year, the county also created an agreement with the Lahontan Region Water Quality Control board to perform checks and inspections on their behalf for projects ranging from 10,000 square feet to 1 acre. Prior to this agreement, North Tahoe residents would have had to drive down to South Lake Tahoe to get their permits from the Lahontan board.

Kelsie Longerbeam is the news, business and environment reporter for the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza. She can be contacted at or 530-550-2653. Follow her on Facebook, and Twitter and Instagram @kelsielongerbm.

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