My Turn: TRPA’s vision has changed the past few years
June 25, 2009
What will it take to get Tahoe Regional Planning Agency oversight to recognize the current direction of TRPA is contradictory to TRPA’s primary objective? The lake environment needs to be preserved, not sold out to the highest bidder.
If TRPA cannot acquire financial support from government it must get that support from developer permits. Rather than reduce TRPA’s activities, TRPA has expanded its efforts with new diversions like community enhancement projects which are nothing more than finding loopholes for developers to drive their ambitions.
Doesn’t it follow that the lake environment must be developed so that TRPA can continue to operate? So, TRPA exists to sustain itself by encouraging/soliciting more developer fees?
TRPA head Joanne Marchetta has said those of us who disagree with her or TRPA’s chosen direction of and#8212; how can I say this charitably and#8212; development to preserve tourism and#8230; bringing urban development densities to the Alpine environment are heretics, ostriches and other absurd characterizations that do nothing more than further discourage reasonable resolution managing the environment of Lake Tahoe.
When I came to Tahoe as a resident 15 years ago, I thought of TRPA as a great idea. I learned to realize that Individual Parcel Evaluation System scores were not that bad. I appreciated many of TRPA’s efforts to preserve the lake. The last two years I have observed TRPA take the approach it must encourage economic development. I believe this is an assumption of responsibility that is not in their charter. To preserve TRPA it needs revenue from other sources. I suggest TRPA reduce the size/focus of its vision. I believe TRPA is ignoring the reality that fewer people are coming to the lake because they cannot afford the trip. Developing more accommodation capacity to sit idle waiting for expected visitors seems foolish.
What will it take to get the oversight of TRPA to stop this cynical march to over-develop? The State of Nevada seems to want to do the right thing. However, as I see the presentations to the governing board and read the development plans, I see nothing more than a stream of deception. The board is told the lake needs to increase tourism or the lake will cease to exist. We know on the face that such fear-mongering is false. I am amused by the chutzpah that says the lake exists for tourism; the lake must create jobs. I ask when did the immediate environment need to create jobs? The board is then told how many homes are second homes as if this is a problem. It is a problem if you are operating a large urban center. Focus on the lake though and#8230; it cannot sustain a large urban center. At 6,000 feet, greater than a mile above sea level, Mother Nature has provided us with less air, less of the mechanisms to correct the pollutants and particulate depositions that harm the lake clarity and surrounding environment. We cannot resolve the problems at the lake with and#8220;sea leveland#8221; or and#8220;flat landand#8221; thinking. However, the and#8220;consultantsand#8221; hired by TRPA will tell us we must or perish.
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It appears TRPA’s direction is determined by entities that want what they want, and dispense with any interest in the well-being of the lake. We ask for measurements, but we do not ask who is providing the measurement, and what is their place (benefit) in how they measured. Be aware there are a number of us that do not know how to approach the TRPA or TRPA oversight to get these concerns addressed. We are frustrated TRPA can and will dismiss us as and#8220;tree-huggers.and#8221; I am not a tree-hugger. I do believe the lake is being poorly managed. I believe it is my responsibility to speak up about the deceptive information being presented to the government on these issues.
I am tired of being told I am damaged goods, an obstacle to progress, etc. As a citizen of the United States I would like to believe my voice, and the voice of people like me, still has some valuable input to the process.
Phil James is an Incline Village resident.
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