My Turn: Tourist accommodation issue must be tackled
To TRPA and Placer County Board members, I know you are not paid and are spending your time on these boards as volunteers. We as community members are doing the same thing. We are volunteering our time reviewing documents and coming to talk with you. The reason we come month after month is to discuss issues we have in common ” the lake.
The TRPA 1980 compact was established to regulate the effects of human impacts on the national treasure ” Lake Tahoe. TRPA has adopted an enforcement of the regional plan and should be implementing ordinances which achieves and maintains established capacities while providing opportunities for orderly growth and development consistent with such capacities.
Today we ask for your help and your guidance on an improved process ” to fix the disconnect between the board, the public, the developers and the staff. How do we express ourselves and our concerns without sounding like naysayers?
There are subjective interpretations of codes and ordinances. And currently at the forefront ” the misuse of the “tourist accommodation entitlements.” Exploitation of TAU’s ! This exploitation alone causes impacts to traffic, air quality, demands on infrastructure, increased water consumption, excessive tree removal… the list goes on. The Pathway 2007 Regional Plan Update slated for possible release in 2009 or even beyond is a critical issue. Stating the new regional plan will resolve many issues is not good enough. We need some resolution or amendments immediately. The failure to analyze cumulative impacts while continuing to evaluate one project at a time does not assess true cumulative impacts. Community plan visions for development are not being followed. Mitigation measures show no local nexus or ability to solve any of the local problems and they do not resolve the issues they are intended to mitigate. As the Governing Board and Advisory Planning Commission ” you need to be asking staff the hard questions.
You are the board and have the discretion to direct your staff. When you approved Sandy Beach on July 23 you did not ask your staff one single question. Did staff review the community plan every five years as is required in Chapter 14.7 of the TRPA Code of Ordinances? Does TRPA staff know where the North Tahoe Community Plan EIR/EIS 1995 Draft is located ? And why wasn’t this document consulted before you certified a environmental document as technically correct? Did staff really look at cumulative impacts of the future, existing and current projects? Why did staff allow an environmental assessment instead of an environmental impact statement for a project that has significant impacts as identified in your code?
I understand the developers desire to maximize an investment, but of equal importance is the welfare of the environment and communities that co-exist on the North Shore. We are not resisting development. We are asking for reasonable growth. What can we do differently that would help you hear us and this message? Is it not the TRPA and communities job to work towards achieving this balance together?
I, therefore, ask that the TRPA staff, governing board and related parties have the conviction to recognize that until tourist accommodation units are fully defined and the impacts to communities are fully evaluated, projects of larger magnitude should be delayed.
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