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Less homes can be built in Tahoe Basin this year

Gregory Crofton

A commission that advises the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency voted Wednesday to support a proposal that would mean 23 fewer homes can be built in the Tahoe Basin this year.

Adopted amid controversy in December 2002, the system that calculates how many allocations of development get released each year links home building in the basin to the amount of environmental work performed by local governments.

“I was here a year ago sounding the alarm about Placer County’s allocations,” said Bill Combs, a member of the TRPA Advisory Planning Commission. “There were 46 allocations we got and used, but we didn’t have people lining up pounding on the door to get them like I had predicted.”

This year, the number of allocations of development is expected to drop from 248 to 225. The decrease is a result of TRPA being more strict in its evaluation of the environmental work of the local governments.

Additional allocations are available to people who can afford to buy a sensitive piece of land and require it remains open space.

TRPA staff also says it thinks the allocation system is working well.

“It has resulted in significant environmental improvements on the ground,” said Paul Nielsen, a TRPA planner. “I think the fact the allocations are in the 225 range is a positive indicator.”

The system allows for between 78 and 294 allocations to be distributed. The release of allocations cannot happen until after the TRPA Governing Board votes on the issue this month.

Also at the Advisory Planning Commission meeting, TRPA staff reported that it will apply for a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The money would be used by fire safe councils and fire protection districts to formulate a fire plan for the basin.

The plan would take at least a year to complete. It would help prioritize forest fuel reduction projects and secure funding for those projects, said Mike Vollmer, TRPA vegetation program manager.

Gregory Crofton can be reached by e-mail at gcrofton@tahoedailytribune.com or by calling (530) 542-8045.