Carson officials vote to support amended TRPA bill
Carson City’s Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 Friday to support an amended version of a bill calling for the possible withdrawal of Nevada from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency if it does not meet certain benchmarks by Oct. 1, 2014.
The Senate voted 19-2 Friday afternoon to approve Senate Bill 271, which now moves to the Assembly for consideration.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. John Lee, D-Las Vegas, threatens Nevada’s withdrawal from TRPA if significant progress is not made over the next three years in the way the bistate agency operates. The legislation gives the Nevada governor the option of extending the deadline by three years.
Supervisors Shelly Aldean, Karen Abowd and John McKenna voted in favor of supporting the bill Friday morning during a special meeting of city officials. Supervisor Molly Walt was absent, and Mayor Bob Crowell voted against supporting the amended bill, stating concerns over the potential unintended consequences of pulling out of TRPA.
“Tahoe is an interstate body of water, and I worry that the gains we’ve made with regard to clarity could be jeopardized if we were bifurcated,” Crowell said.
Aldean, who has served on the TRPA board for the past eight years said she heard at a TRPA meeting this week that the folks in California aren’t too concerned about the bill.
“They don’t think this is going to pass. It’s been tried seven times before, and they consider it a hollow threat,” she said.
She said the message that needs to be sent is that the agency needs to be more respectful of private property rights and more receptive to innovative ideas.
The amended SB271 makes significant changes to the bill as it was initially introduced.
The biggest change is the elimination of the super majority voting rule, which requires a majority of members of each state to support any decision before it passes. Lee and others have said California members use that rule to block practically every change or development.
In addition, anyone suing to challenge any part of the basinwide regional plan would have the burden of showing that the plan violates the compact.
It also requires the governing board to consider economic conditions in the Tahoe Basin so the economy isn’t negatively impacted by the agency.
Aldean urged the board of supervisors to support the bill.
“We’ve tried to morph this agency (TRPA) into one that is more user-friendly and not so adversarial,” Aldean said. “We need to let our colleagues in California and the environmental community know that ‘If you want to save this compact, you need to come to the table'” to work cooperatively.
She said it was her understanding that if the TRPA eventually is dissolved, California’s intent was to resurrect the California Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
“I hope California will see the light so TRPA can continue,” she said.
Douglas County Commissioners voted Friday 5-0 to support the amended bill as it stood that day, said County Manager Michael Brown.
Washoe County, which has an interest in the Incline Village portion of Lake Tahoe, has not taken a formal stand on the bill, said Kathy Carter, spokeswoman for the commission.