This week. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency officials announced a 60-day, extended public- comment period will ostensibly delay the release of the shorezone plan and ensuing ordinances until May.
This news could be negatively spun as TRPA staff spinning its wheels.
To the contrary, we hope TRPA is using the time to take homeowners' and environmentalists' concerns about the plan to heart.
The shorezone plan has been met with much controversy since the first proposed "alternative" was released in the summer of 2003.
Since then, five additional alternatives were released, each with the same result - a mandate by the public and trustees for the agency to go back to the drawing board.
Controversy seemed to follow every proposed plan amendment: From mandatory buoy removal or an absence of a "grandfathering" policy for them; to a one-day-a-week boat ban on Emerald Bay; to a strict boat- sticker program to simply how many new piers (from zero to 10 per year for the next two decades) will be allowed on the lake.
But TRPA's staff is not entirely to blame. History shows, it isn't easy to get a shorezone plan right.
The agency adopted a regional plan in 1987 (to be updated this year in the Pathway 2007 process) without agreeing on a shorezone plan.
That's right, it's been 20 years since any shorezone guidelines have been in place.
Director John Singlaub, after joining the agency in 2003, made adopting a shorezone plan his mission.
While he's remarked that the proposed final ordinance will contain "no surprises," the final product is sure to stir some controversy.
Or will it?
Maybe the TRPA staff is using the extra time to throw out some antiquated or unrealistic notions from the first six alternatives.
Maybe staff is using the time to work with scientists to discuss mitigation measures on how to get the lake off of the "impaired" list before new construction can commence.
That's why building in an extra month of time to codify the proposed plan may allow the TRPA time to address some early-warning signs and produce a working plan that most can agree on from the onset.
Wouldn't that be an original concept?
- From the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza in Incline Village.