North Tahoe Preservation Alliance meeting raises awareness about overdevelopment
KINGS BEACH, Calif. — On Friday evening, April 21, the North Tahoe Preservation Alliance, also known as the NTPA, held a meeting to further discuss and analyze the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s involvement in the proposed Lake Tahoe Basin Area Plan, fire evacuation, and overall traffic congestion.
The meeting began with a five-minute short video created by the NTPA further explaining the long-term effects of urbanized development throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin.
“Current plans from the TRPA could flood our rustic region with as many as 1,800 units with detrimental, dangerous consequences,” NTPA’s short video stated. “There are currently six large North Shore projects that are approved or under review.”
These six projects include: the Boulder Bay Project, the Cal Neva Project, the Tahoe Inn Project, the Kings Beach Town Center Project, the Ferrari/Laulima Project, and the Martis Valley West Project. Along with all six projects, there are over 1,800 housing units being proposed in these plans, including an expected population increase between 5,758 to 8,356 people, according to NTPA’s video.
“These new developments will add thousands of additional residents, thousands of additional visitors, and thousands of additional cars, to a community already absorbing 15 million visitors annually,” the video states.
After the video played, meeting attendees engaged in rigorous discussion, providing both in-person and virtual meeting attendees a comprehensive look at the brevity of these proposed projects by the TRPA, and what they mean for the landscape and future of Lake Tahoe.
Among the attending panel at the meeting, Doug Flaherty, Incline Village resident and former Fire Battalion Chief in Southern California further discussed fire evacuation and the lack of determination of population capacity in the Tahoe Basin, acknowledging the problems around increasing the population rather than acknowledging current issues with fire evacuation plans.
Dave McClure, a local entrepreneur and coined local traffic expert, further discussed the Waldorf Astoria Biltmore’s published traffic report, and the TRPA’s failure to analyze cumulative impacts of the dozens of projects that are actively in the works.
Kristina Hill, Incline Village planner and former TRPA employee, further illustrated TRPA’s failed concept of the promotion of large projects as the solution to Lake Tahoe’s lake clarity and ongoing lack of housing.
Lastly, Ann Nichols, President of the NTPA, discussed the TRPA’ and Placer County’s proposed code changes, stating that there is hypocrisy in the TRPA’s approval of luxury condominium developments, while at the same time the TRPA claims that extra height, density, and coverage for developers is the solution to Tahoe’s urbanized development issues.
Along with extra height, density, and coverage for developers as proposed code changes, according to the NTPA, Placer County and the TRPA are utilizing other tactics to enforce code changes and try new attempts towards taxing residents and tourists. Of these new attempts, some included are 500-foot long continuous walls, condominiums in the Town Center on SR-28, no parking requirements for multi-family housing units, food trucks next to competing businesses, limitless ski area pass sales resulting in traffic gridlock, inadequate reduction of short-term rentals, no onsite workforce housing required of large employers, and many more.
Of the attending meeting participants, many felt informed about the information that was received, and believed that the information was of value, according to Nichols.
“There is a great cost to silence,” Nichols said in a press release. “Let’s promote sensible redevelopment, workforce housing and truly affordable housing that doesn’t harm Lake Tahoe or trap us in our homes.”
TRPA was not invited to the meeting and an offer to have an agency representative provide information was “politely declined.”
“It is TRPA’s commitment and responsibility to find collaborative solutions to complex issues impacting Lake Tahoe’s environment and communities,” said Jeff Cowen, public information officer for TRPA. “The protections for Lake Tahoe in the Regional Plan also need to support reinvestment in older properties so that environmental and community benefits can move forward together. The elements of the plan work together as a system to address the cumulative impacts of development and traffic impacts.
“Community input is always welcome and helps improve our project review processes,” Cowen continued. “TRPA attends community meetings, responds to inquiries and requests for information, and ensures community concerns are included in our decision-making process. We were not invited to this meeting and our offer to provide information was politely declined. Facts we would have shared include he loss of permanent population over recent decades, accurate traffic counts, progress on affordable housing, and lake clarity trends. The agency recognizes the importance of issues of traffic and evacuation planning and will be working with community members and partner agencies in the coming months to keep positive solutions coming forward.”
NTPA is a nonprofit 501C4 established in 2007 and is dedicated to preserving the natural beauty and rural character of North Lake Tahoe. To get involved with the NTPA, have questions answered, or make suggestions, people are encouraged to visit http://www.NTPAC.org.
Madison Schultz is a reporter for the Tahoe Daily Tribune and Sierra Sun.
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