TAHOE REGIONAL PLAN UPDATE APPROVED
Governors Jerry Brown and Brian Sandoval have a shared present under the holiday tree this season. The Tahoe Regional Plan package of updates was approved with the vote of twelve Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board members. This is an important step toward the potential repeal of Nevada Senate Bill 271 though there is a 60-day window during which litigation against the update could be filed, reversing that process. The Regional Plan update suite of documents and agreements has been nearly a decade in the making and rejuvenated dialogue between California and Nevada about management of their shared “jewel of the Sierra” —Lake Tahoe.
December 12, 2012
by Michelle Sweeney
Governors Jerry Brown and Brian Sandoval have a shared present under the holiday tree this season. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Board voted to approve the Tahoe Regional Plan Package—a suite of documents a decade in the making. Sixteen months ago, when Governors Brown and Sandoval met for the first time, it was at Lake Tahoe. They came together on the occasion of the annual Tahoe Summit to commit the states of California and Nevada to working out their differences on the Tahoe front and coming up with an updated plan document.
On that occasion Governor Brown said, “To get to the practical point…somehow we have to have the builders and the environmentalists somehow come up with a game plan that will keep Tahoe economically and environmentally sane, sound and sustainable.” On that same occasion he pointed out, “…that the first peoples who came to Lake Tahoe were here about 10,000 years ago. We need a little sense of duration here. That sense of get-it-now, grab it, instantaneous gratification can drive various enterprises forward but that is not how nature works. Nature requires a balance.” Toward this end Governor Brown committed his Secretary of Natural Resources, John Laird, to negotiate with Nevada.
On the Nevada front Governor Brian Sandoval committed his Director of Conservation, Leo Drozdoff, to negotiate with California on the heels of the passage of Nevada Senate Bill 271—which threatens to withdraw Nevada from the Bi-State Tahoe Compact that binds Nevada and California together—should a Regional Plan update not have been approved or should litigation be filed against it. Together Laird and Drozdoff worked with stakeholders from both states and diverse interest groups to produce a Bi-State Recommendation package, what Laird called in August 2012, “a historic accomplishment, but not the end, just the beginning”.
Twelve Tahoe Regional Planning Agency governing board members voted to approve the plan update, providing sufficient support from both Nevada and California for its passage. Mara Bresnick, appointee of the California Assembly Speaker, voted against approval of the plan update citing numerous shortcomings including the creation of a new category of allowed development and the absence of stricter confines on development. Byron Sher, appointee of the California Senate Rules Committee, abstained from the vote citing serious concerns about the update but expressing the hope that those who will proceed in the work of implementing the plan will hold to the highest standards of integrity.
The Regional Plan Update has been an active priority of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency since 2005. So it is no surprise that immediately following its passage several changes to the agency’s governing board were announced. Byron Sher and Larry Sevison (Placer County Board of Supervisors Appointee) announced their resignations. The Chairwoman’s gavel will proceed from Norma Santiago, El Dorado County Supervisor, to Shelly Aldean of the Carson City Board of Supervisors.