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Washoe County addresses TRPA development standards at Tahoe

By Carla O'Day
Published: Last Updated on
Lake Tahoe's north shore near Incline Village. Image: Gabby Dodd

Updates to the Tahoe Area Master Plan were approved Tuesday by Washoe County commissioners, who said they’ll work closely with Lake Tahoe officials to streamline policies regarding development in the Incline Village area.

“We really need to create a unified approach to planning and development,” Eric Young, Washoe County senior planner, told commissioners. “Just like down here, up in the (Lake Tahoe) basin, there’s a regional plan and we have to conform to it. Actually, the level of conformance and level of regulation we’re required to mirror or adopt is significant.”

Master plans are drafted by local governments to set long-range planning objectives and trajectories for future growth.

The proposed plan removes Washoe County’s traditional regulatory zones and establishes one unambiguous standard based on an existing agreement with Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Allowed uses remain largely the same.

Dual regulatory zone and development standards from the county and TRPA have resulted in confusion and frustration for the public, Young said. The TRPA governing board consists of 15-members, seven from California, seven from Nevada, and one non-voting presidential appointee.

Washoe County also plans to conform with TRPA’s regional transportation plan by emphasizing pedestrian, bicycle, and other alternative forms of transportation, along with TRPA’s requirement for greenhouse gas reduction strategies.

“I think that once this plan is approved, there are a lot of opportunities for Washoe County to do some better community planning up in Incline Village,” Commissioner Alexis Hill said. “Getting in conformance with TRPA and making sure builds are environmentally sound, making sure redevelopment can happen, and not pushing this off any longer is my recommendation.”

Young also noted other plans that include replacing the former Ponderosa Ranch tourism site with uses that support a path from Incline Village to Sand Harbor Nevada State Park, recognizing that memory care requires higher densities than currently recognized, and recognizing an increased demand for alternative transportation and outdoor recreation, particularly multi-use pathways.

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