During the legislative session I heard it said repeatedly on the floor of the legislature that Nevada does not want to withdraw from the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact. So can you clarify for us why it is being proposed?
Tahoe Project: Thank you for doing this interview with the Tahoe Project. During the legislative session I heard it said repeatedly on the floor of the legislature that Nevada does not want to withdraw from the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact. So can you clarify for us why it is being proposed?
Senator Lee: First and foremost, Nevada has a great love for the Lake just like our good friends in California do. We know that when people come to the Lake, to gamble, they don’t come to see the casinos, they come to see the Lake. So it benefits Nevada to have a wonderful, pristine Lake.
What we were finding out in Nevada though is that we have a lot of projects, old motels and things we needed to change—to make upgrades to—that would make the experience better for the tourists that were coming to the Lake. We were having a hard time getting the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to have the votes that were needed to work with some of the economic needs that we have on the Nevada side of the Lake.
We are not interested in exploring how to make Disneyland in Lake Tahoe. We do though have needs in Nevada that we need looked at in a timely manner to fix and upgrade some of the things we have on the books. We have not been able to have this done. The way that some of the things, like the majority voting, worked against us we decided that we wanted to see what we could do to even the playing field so that Nevada’s interests could be better understood.
Tahoe Project: How did we get to this juncture?
Senator Lee: When the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency was first proposed there were thousands of developable lots in the Basin and it seemed as though it would be a free-for-all for developers. It seemed like it was going to be a disaster up there at the lake. Once the Compact was in place things started to change and to progress in a coherent fashion. Then, the TRPA started to have issues with the zoning requirements that the local governments had and to get involved with the counties’ permitting, sometimes getting in the way of the counties’ building departments. Then the League to Save Lake Tahoe got involved and they started threatening lawsuits. Pretty soon our Nevada local governments said they didn’t want to have a thing to do with things up there. They said, “Look, we can’t afford to fight you guys in the courts. You don’t like what we have to say and you don’t like our master planning for the area. So why don’t you guys do it? The way I understand it the TRPA started master planning the area but they haven’t been able to get around to updating it. So there is no master plan (to update the 1980 Master Plan). So individual projects get picked to death, piece by piece. Rules and laws that are not even in effect get applied. We need to have a master plan in effect up there that can tell people what to expect if they buy a lot. We need a master plan in place. Let’s get that Regional Plan updated.
NB: Senator Lee requested that questions pertaining to the future and what is anticipated to come of SB 271 be directed to Leo Drozdoff, Director of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Stay tuned to Tahoe Project for that future interview.