My Turn: TRPA starts to use common sense maybe? | SierraSun.com

My Turn: TRPA starts to use common sense maybe?

Don Kanare
Special to the Sun

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. and#8212; I would like to recommend that every property owner in Incline Village and Crystal Bay attend the TRPA public workshop on Thursday, February 2nd at 6 PM at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Non-Profit Center (aka the Parasol Building). Letand#8217;s fill the room with local property owners and quiz the officials giving the presentation on the supposedly new and#8220;leaner, cleaner TRPA code.and#8221; Is the average homeowner finally getting a break on some of the truly burdensome regulations, or is the agency becoming more of a shill for developers looking to create expansive high-rise projects around Lake Tahoe in the future?

What I find so interesting about this new and#8220;Code of Ordinancesand#8221; is that the TRPA is essentially admitting that the old rules lacked basic common sense (unless of course the new rules are a smokescreen for some other agenda). The advertisement promoting the February 2nd event in the most recent edition of the Bonanza specifically states, and#8220;This common sense reorganization of the current code goes into effect March 1, 2012.and#8221; By definition if they are doing a and#8220;common sense reorganization of the current code,and#8221; that means the old code lacked common sense in the way that it is written and organized.

Itand#8217;s about time TRPA leadership finally admitted the agency has failed to use common sense in the promulgation of the rules and regulations over the past four decades. Even with the supposed reorganization of the Code of Ordinances, I have a hard time believing TRPA leadership is more interested in protecting the environment and lake clarity than clearing the path for new large-scale developments. We canand#8217;t develop our way to lake clarity. Trying to influence economic prosperity (or screwing up like approving the failed convention center at South Lake Tahoe) is not supposed to be the role of the TRPA.

Here is a list of some common sense issues that should have been addressed decades ago by the TRPA and most likely wonand#8217;t even be considered in the new Code of Ordinances.

and#8226; Smog checks for all motor vehicles registered inside the Lake Tahoe basin.

and#8226; Aggressive removal of invasive species as soon as they are identified in an area.

and#8226; A complete ban on the use of fertilizer on lawns, golf courses, etc.

and#8226; Actively thin overgrown stands of live and dead trees to return the Lake Tahoe basin to a historically healthy forest and reduce the fire danger dramatically.

and#8226; Significantly decrease the amount of sand used on roads in the wintertime.

and#8226; Recognize the benefits of pervious asphalt and concrete and mandate its use when replacing driveways, parking lots, roads and sidewalks.

and#8226; Make the Board of Governors electable by and accountable to the property owners in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

and#8226; Change the source of funding for the TRPA so the agency is not dependent upon contributions from Nevada, California and development/permit fees for its revenue.

Will the TRPA still consider it excess coverage if you use 6×6 posts to support your new fence instead of 4×4 posts? Will you still be required to put gravel on your property for BMPs even if you can demonstrate that the runoff from your house percolates naturally into the ground already? Are permits still going to be granted for new development on slopes in excess of 30 degrees?

My guess is any change to the Code will involve giving in to some of the big developers and modifying the existing standards to permit high-rise development at several locations around Lake Tahoe. The agency might be moving chapters around in the rulebooks to make the order more logical, streamlining some permit processes and revising some nonsensical rules and regulations. But in looking at the big picture will any of this help to return the Lake Tahoe environment to a more natural state and dramatically improve lake clarity? Or will it simply pave the way for people with dollar signs in their eyes to make another foray at building out of scale developments around the lake?

If TRPA had promulgated rules and regulations that made common sense over the past 4+ decades then we would not have seen lake clarity decline by nearly 40 percent since the inception of the organization. Unfortunately, a certain number of people seem to think the lake owes them a living, and the pursuit of that goal has led to the degradation of water quality and clarity, the introduction of invasive species and a host of other environmental issues.

I would like to see the members of our community ask the TRPA leadership the hard questions about the issues I have listed above. While the TRPA might be making changes to the Code of Ordinances, until there is a complete change in the oversight, bureaucracy and culture, itand#8217;s just lipstick on a pig, or maybe something worse.

and#8212; Don Kanare is an Incline Village Realtor with RE/MAX Premier Properties.