Our View: A roundabout way of public process
July 23, 2008
After years of public involvement led by Placer County, the road to a decision on the Kings Beach Commercial Core Project took an odd and unnecessary detour last month to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Board before heading Tuesday to the Placer County Board of Supervisors.
The decision to have the bi-state agency hear the matter without a recommendation from the Placer County Board of Supervisors, which was the lead body, was a mistake of public process.
The agency should have had the benefit of voting on the project with a clear knowledge of Placer County’s preference. After all, the county is the truest form of representation that the residents of Kings Beach have.
Although the process got taken out of order, the agency has a chance today to redeem itself. Thanks to a motion by agency board member Steve Merrill to have the June 25 rejection of three lanes reconsidered, the agency has the chance to re-vote on the issue ” this time with the unquestionable message from the Placer County Board of Supervisors that it wants three lanes and roundabouts in Kings Beach.
The agency will then have a clear choice: Vote for a project that has been recommended by every public board and body up to this point and supported by what can be argued is a majority of Kings Beach residents, or throw every shred of public process out of the window and vote for a project that is not supported by local government or a significant majority of local residents.
One thing we do know is that Placer County Supervisor Bruce Kranz, who refused to represent the decision of his county at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency meeting, will not be voting on reconsideration.
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Kranz’s colleagues on the board of supervisors opted to send his alternate to the meeting instead so that the county’s decision would be conveyed to the TRPA board today without question.
If TRPA’s June 25 vote is reconsidered, the future meeting where the board members once again decide the commercial core plan will be among the most monumental in recent North Shore history. As the previous agency meeting showed, the board did not have the support to back either a three-lane or four-lane project.
Hopefully, now with a Placer County representative ready to represent the will of the county at the agency meeting, the gridlock over the project will dissolve.
The greatest disservice to Kings Beach residents would be the delay or outright disappearance of a $45-million project for downtown Kings Beach. Given Placer County’s vote, the best way to assure this does not happen is for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to reconsider its vote and approve the project every other governmental board has signed off on: A three-lane highway with roundabouts and sidewalks through Kings Beach.
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