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Proposed Tahoe Area Regs Raise Environmental Concerns

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, July 30, 2012

Alex Leff is with the conservation organization Friends of the West Shore.  He says the main draft plan would allow significant commercial development on recreational land, which makes up 22 percent of Lake Tahoe's basin.

"You can hike, you can  bike, you can camp on recreation land, but this new re-designation that they've created will allow hotel accommodations, commercial facilities, residential units on all of this new recreation land," says Leff.

The proposal has sparked concern in the community.

In response, a Tahoe Regional Planning Agency stakeholder group has reworked the draft proposal. TRPA's Julie Regan says the new plan would put most recreational land off-limits.

"To remove the fear and concern that we're opening too many opportunities for development, the proposal will be to tightly define what parcels of land could be eligible," says Regan.

The revised plan limits new commercial development  to 250 acres of recreational land near Stateline and 22 acres of private land next to the Heavenly California Base lodge.   

"One of the other enormous issues that the environmental community is concerned with is that the TRPA is delegating an enormous amount of authority to the local counties and local municipalities," says Leff.

Historically, the TRPA has overseen permitting. But in the new proposed plan, that could change.  Leff says this would be a conflict of interest -- because towns that would benefit from new business could be in charge of approving proposed developments. 
In response to these concerns, the TRPA has modified the proposal . It's scaled back the size of projects local counties and towns may approve.   Major projects such as new hotels or large-scale businesses would still require TRPA approval.

The TRPA board will consider the updated proposal on August 2nd.  

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