Decisionmakers: Mara Bresnick |

Decisionmakers: Mara Bresnick

Julie Brown/Sierra SunMara Bresnick

An environmental conservationist at heart, TRPA Governor Mara Bresnick said she believes in the need for a balance between preservation and development.

“I think the balance is that development will and needs to occur,” Bresnick said. “But, it needs to occur within a context of also being good land stewards for our natural lands.”

A Los Angeles Law School graduate, Bresnick’s background includes extensive experience in environmental consulting and land-use law, specializing in wetlands and endangered or threatened species.

As with many others, Bresnick has developed a passion for Lake Tahoe since she first started visiting the lake in 1987. Though she permanently resides in the foothills, Bresnick purchased property at the lake in 1993, and said she strives to come up every weekend.

Bresnick is serving her second term on the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency governing board ” she previously spent two years on the board from 1996 to 1998.

She has also served on the board of the Placer Land Trust for Placer County.

When she served on the governing board in the 1990s, the bistate planning agency was in the midst of adopting its environmental improvement program, which was an opportunity for the people in Tahoe to move forward together, she said.

This term has been different, Bresnick said. Not only are there different issues at hand, such as Shorezone and the 20-year regional plan update, but the items offer less ground for consensus among different communities and groups.

“It’s not that everybody doesn’t want to try and work together to reach a common goal,” Bresnick said. “Everybody loves the lake. Everybody wants to make sure the environment around the lake survives. It’s just, how do you get there?”

Bresnick said she would like to see the planning agency develop a regional plan that everyone could embrace. But the issue is complicated, she said, and she’s not sure how to take the next step.

“There’s so many pieces to the puzzle, and the very laudable goal of doing it all at once ” you may just need to take a step back,” Bresnick said.

But when all is said and done, Bresnick said she believes in the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and said that it is necessary to have a basin-wide, regulatory body that ensures stewardship of the lake, while promoting appropriate development.

“For as much as is on our plate, I think that the TRPA is doing a good job and is a necessary agency,” Bresnick said.

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