Coe Swobe resigns from TRPA governing board

Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board member Coe Swobe, a Reno lawyer, announced his resignation from the board Tuesday.

The agency will attempt to fill Swobe's seat by today.

According to a letter, which the TRPA released within an e-mail message Tuesday morning, Swobe resigned the position and said he hoped the Nevada delegation would fill the position with a "fire expert or a strong advocate of fire prevention in the Lake Tahoe Basin." The letter was written June 27.

The resignation comes on the eve of one of the agency's most controversial decisions ever regarding North Tahoe: The vote over whether to reconsider the agency's rejection of a three-lane configuration for the highway through downtown Kings Beach.

Several TRPA Governing Board members tried to convince Swobe to reconsider his decision to leave the board, wrote TRPA Executive Director John Singlaub, in an e-mail.

Swobe could not immediately be reached for comment.

"I think Coe was frustrated with TRPA management," said Jim Galloway, a Washoe County Commissioner and chair of the Nevada Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. "He has done a lot of good. He has been a gadfly in some respects, but sometimes that is necessary and we owe him thanks."

Swobe's history with the TRPA reaches back to its formation in 1969, when President Richard Nixon approved the compact that created the bistate agency.

Swobe was Nevada Gov. Paul Laxalt's special assistant on the formation of a bistate agency at the time, according to a Tahoe Daily Tribune article last summer.

"The only way we can get the job done is through a bistate agency," Coe Swobe told the Tahoe-Douglas Chamber of Commerce in 1967. "Polluted water does not respect county or state boundaries."

Swobe has been a TRPA Governing Board member since 2001, and made fuels reduction one of his primary issues. Long before the Angora fire in June 2007, Swobe was warning the agency about the threat of wildfire and the potential environmental damage to Lake Tahoe.

Under TRPA rules, Swobe's position will be filled by the six other Nevada members of the governing board. They will look at filling the remainder of Swobe's term, which runs through 2008. The annual appointment (or re-appointment) will again be taken up in November by the Nevada Tahoe Regional Planning Agency for next year.

For information, contact the TRPA at (775) 588-4547 or visit

- The Sierra Sun's David Bunker contributed to this report


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