TRPA meetings will depart California | SierraSun.com

TRPA meetings will depart California

Julie Brown
Sierra Sun
Emma Garrard/Sierra Sun file photoThe Tahoe Regional Planning Agency will no longer regularly meet at the the North Tahoe Community Conference Center in Kings Beach.
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The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency will not maintain its usual presence in California next year.

Nearly all of the monthly Governing Board and Advisory Planning Commission meetings next year are scheduled either at the Chateau in Incline Village, or at the agency’s Stateline office in South Lake Tahoe.

Both venues are in Nevada.

“Both of these facilities, including Incline and our corporate office, our agency headquarters, it’s not like we’re in Carson City, Reno or Vegas,” said Dennis Oliver, agency spokesman. “We’re right across the state line.”

The bistate agency’s governing board met every other month at the North Tahoe Conference Center in Kings Beach since “forever,” Oliver said.

But a recent rate increase at the conference center provoked the bi-state agency to shop around for a better deal, Oliver said. Incline’s Chateau gave them the best deal.

“As a public agency, we’re spending the public’s money,” he said. “And every year, when they’re raising their rates, we definitely shop around.”

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s departure is a significant revenue loss for the conference center, said Director Nora Daniels.

“They were a regular customer for years,” she said.

Faced with a burdensome deficit, the Conference Center management modified its business plan two years ago, raising the room rental rates so that the venue could operate as a self-sufficient entity.

North Tahoe Public Utility District officials reported in September that the center has trimmed its operating deficit this fiscal year by $104,000 from last year’s operating loss, indicating the new rates have had a positive effect on business at the conference center.

Daniels said last week that there has been “very little negative reaction” to the rate increases. The agency’s switch was a sudden move, she said.

“[The TRPA’s move] is significant,” Daniels said. “But we’re working on other ways to increase business … Whenever you lose a regular customer like that, you need to find ways to replace that business.”

The conference center staff projected that revenue received from local government agency and business bookings would bring in $150,000 for the 2007-08 fiscal year.

The figure is based on past bookings, which included the agency’s monthly meetings.

Local government agencies, including the TRPA, receive a 50 percent discount during the slow season and a 35 percent discount during the peak season, which is from May to October.

Two meetings, one scheduled for the governing board in July and the other for the advisory planning commission in August, will still be held at the North Tahoe Conference Center. The agency also intends to still hold public workshops, hearings and community meetings at various locations across the North Shore, Oliver said.

The bistate planning agency’s Tahoe City office, which opened this year, will help sustain its presence on the North Shore and in California.